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.





March 14th, 2017


London Design Week 2017: We’re talking Texture, Tweed, Spring Greens, Marbling and all things Exotic

Spring has just about sprung, London Design Week is in full swing, so we started the week with a visit to the Design Centre in Chelsea Harbour to see what the new season has in store.

London Design Week Spring 2017

London Design Week 2017

There’s a TEXTURE takeover…

“Texture” is huge this season and is being used across a wide range of products from fabrics to ironmongery. We love it, as it’s seeing the re-introduction of a range of muted, natural colours allowing the texture to do the talking. The new range from Larsen below does exactly this.

Lighting is also embracing the texture trend. Many pieces in the new collection from Porta Romana take inspiration from the cratered textures of the moon.

We also love NATECRU! This term apparently combines the two words: “naturel” and “ecru” and it’s the new Pierre Frey collection of various textures using natural fibres only and just a few neutral colourways. Hemp, linen, wool, cotton, silk, and cashmere are all embellished by the quality of the yarns, the weave and the finish.

From top left: New Collection from LARSEN; Lighting by PORTA ROMANA; PIERRE FREY new NATECRU collection of neutrals and textures

From top left: New textural collection from LARSEN; Lighting by PORTA ROMANA; PIERRE FREY new NATECRU collection of neutrals and textures

With texture comes a very modern TWEED…

Tweed is no longer conjuring up images of traditional country houses… it’s been reinvented in an array of colourful and interesting weaves, many of which would look equally at home made up for London Fashion Week. Manuel Canovas has taken its trademark colour palette of bright orange, pink, yellow, turquoise and applied it to this fun new range of tweeds and textures.

TEXTURE continued

New brightly coloured tweeds from Manuel Canovas; textured Coco Shell tiles from Elits; lighting from Remains

… and these unusual Coco Shell tiles

… which are both unusual and striking from Elitis. We spotted them in the Abbott and Boyd Showroom, beautifully made and in any colour you could imagine. The potential range of applications is huge, we’re thinking bathrooms, table top etc.

Spring Greens

With the Pantone Colour of the Year being “Greenery” there’s a lot of it about, in every shape and form. Our favourite this season is the collection from Abbott and Boyd, it’s easy on the eye, we love the patterns with an almost ethnic feel and the lack of palm-trees! The collection also comes in monochrome.

Pantone colour of the year Greenery at Abbott and Boyd, London Design Week 2017

“Spring green” collection from Abbott and Boyd at London Design Week 2017

Marbling

Marbling continues its renaissance and is working well in lighting design as well as on wallpapers and fabrics. These marbled shades at Porta Romana caught our eye, as did this “Italian paper” fabric by Beata Heuman.

"Italian Paper" fabric by Beata Heuman, Marbled lampshades from Porta Romana

“Italian Paper” fabric by Beata Heuman, Marbled lampshades from Porta Romana

All things exotic

A final theme this season is “Ethnic”.

Wallpaper specialist Cole & Son has launched a particularly “wow” range of wallpapers in collaboration with Ardmore Ceramic Art celebrating African traditions and culture. Below are “Khulu Vases”, “Leopard Walk” and “Singita”. It is matched in its vibrancy by another ethnic inspired range from Etamine, part of Zimmer & Rohde called Marché Dakar. We love its originality; the designs conjure up the atmosphere of a crowded marketplace in an exotic location, the perfect antidote to a grey London day!

COLE AND SON ARDMORE

New Ardmore collection of newspapers from Cole & Son

Zimmer and rohde etamine

Marché Dakar collection from Étamine

September 22nd, 2015


“Traditional, artisanal & handcrafted” meet “Street art, geometrics & graffiti”

One of the events we always look forward to is London Design Week at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour. We love the trends emerging this season. Not only is the harbour decked out in Tiffany Blue, but we can also see a clear resurgence in some of our favourite themes with traditional, artisanal and handcrafted influences continuing to feature strongly across fabrics, furniture and an array of other products. We also love the variety with the modernist, geometric and street art elements creating some dramatic design schemes at the other end of the spectrum.

The Design Centre Chelsea Harbour looking lovely in Tiffany Blue!

The Design Centre Chelsea Harbour looking lovely in Tiffany Blue!

Traditional, artisanal and handcrafted

This theme was already beginning to feature earlier in the year and has now continued strongly with many designs taking the best from the past and rooting it firmly in the present. Favourites included this collaboration between Victoria Bain and Whistler Leather with the intricately embroidered panels and tapes from Victoria Bain now adorning leather – we can see this working well on the back of a leather dining chair or across the drawers of a desk…

New collaboration between textile company Victoria Bain and Whistler Leather

New collaboration between textile company Victoria Bain and Whistler Leather

In fabrics GP & J Baker has just launched an artisan collection using the ancient art of hand blocked printing, while Kravet’s new Nomad collection looks to Mongolian tribes that hark back to the 13th-century.

The new "Artisan" collection by GP & J Baker and "Nomad" by Kravet.

The new “Artisan” collection by GP & J Baker and “Nomad” by Kravet.

The traditional theme continues across ironmongery (with brass making a much awaited comeback!) and in bathroom design. In another collaboration the brassware specialist Samuel Heath and Royal Crown Derby have launched this decorative new shower/tap collection combining hand finished brassware and hand moulded and intricately decorated fine bone china.

New Collaboration between Samuel Heath and Royal Crown Derby

New Collaboration between Samuel Heath and Royal Crown Derby

Street art, geometrics and graffiti

At the other end of the spectrum some of the more recent “painterly” trends have now morphed into these dramatic versions of street-art featuring a mixture of bold geometric and modernist designs. Again the key word here is “collaboration” – this time between contemporary textile brand Kirby Design and NYC based, British “doodle” artist Jon Burgerman to create the “rainbow scrawl” fabric you see on the far fight. The jury here in the office is still out on this one!

Collaboration between Kirby Design and Jon Burgerman

Collaboration between Kirby Design and Jon Burgerman

We do however love the new Street Art collection from Pierre Frey, working with a number of different artists and again taking inspiration from New York.

New street art collection from Pierre Frey

New street art collection from Pierre Frey

You can see more highlights from Focus 2015 on our Twitter feed https://twitter.com/hilaryjwhite

March 14th, 2015


Top picks from London Design Week 2015: “Artisanal” and “Fun”

One of the events we always look forward to is London Design Week at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour.  A place we know well, the harbour is always transformed during their annual Focus/trade exhibitions. At over 145,000 sq ft, you’re never short of sourcing what you need. Individual events, workshops, talks and forums allow for market/product updates and exciting exchanges between fellow designers and brands.

It’s a visual feast and this year the Harbour was decked out in a “Spring Green” theme with “George the Giraffe” adding to the feeling of fun and anticipation.

"Spring Green" theme and one of the centre pieces "George the Giraffe"

“Spring Green” theme and one of the centre pieces “George the Giraffe”

Much to our delight there were two strong new themes flowing through many of the new ranges; “Artisanal or hand made” and “fun”. Several window displays set the tone for the “artisan” theme. We loved these two, featuring vintage spools and hand spun flour sacks by fabric specialist Abbott and Boyd and Tim Page Carpets.

Artisanal-themed window displays by Abbott and Boyd and Tim Page carpets

Artisanal-themed window displays by Abbott and Boyd and Tim Page carpets

In fabrics and wallpapers the theme was reflected in lots of new embroidered designs, rich colours and textures. These designs with all-over embroidery from Zimmer and Rohde caught our eye…

 

New "artisanal" collection from Zimmer and Rohde

New “artisanal” embroidered collection from Zimmer and Rohde

… as did the newly introduced collection of wide-width wallpapers from Lewis and Wood. Not only did we love the designs, they can also be customised/scaled to fit your scheme. We think this hand-crafted Porta Romana wall lamp would look stunning on a plain wallpaper design!

New wide width wallpapers from Lewis and Wood and the Ivy Shadow Wall light from the Tord Boontje Collection at Porta Romana

New wide width wallpapers from Lewis and Wood and the Ivy Shadow Wall light from the Tord Boontje Collection at Porta Romana

The other theme we mentioned was “fun”. Here the Cole and Son showroom was our favourite with the new “Whimsical” collection. The Paddy & Louis Border made me smile “providing a witty take on a classic Cole & Son archival paper, it features two mischievous cats and an elusive mouse hiding atop a regency style block moulding.” I’m looking for an excuse to use this. We also admired the addition of the busby style lampshade to the updated design classic “Duck Feet” lamp by Porta Romana!

The "Whimsical" range from wallpaper specialists "Cole & Son" and design classic "Duck Feet" lamp from Porta Romana, this time featuring a new busby hat shade

The “Whimsical” range from wallpaper specialists “Cole & Son” and design classic “Duck Feet” lamp from Porta Romana, this time featuring a new busby hat shade

August 11th, 2013


The power of light…

Here are some display shelves in the C&C Milano and Lewis & Wood showroom in the Design Centre, which provide the perfect example of how light, both natural and artificial, can completely distort colour, in particular paint! This is the same paint colour on the entire wall, with the lighting turning it from a warm deep yellow at the top and bottom to a lemony tint on the middle shelves.

C&C Milano and Lewis and Wood Showroom, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour

Shades of yellow…

C&C Milano and Lewis and Wood Showroom, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour

More shades of yellow…

(thank you to the showroom manager, Jasmine Nealon, for allowing me to take the pictures)

It got me thinking that I must post some thoughts on “lighting” at some point, especially when I visited a client’s house the next day, where she had painted around 15 different paint samples onto a wall in a difficult north-facing room, but none of them were working (been there!).

paint colours

The light playing tricks with shades of beige/taupe… and none of them are right?

So here are some dos and don’ts to help get lighting (and therefore also the paint/wall colour) right:

  • First and foremost (in terms of natural light) is to work out which way the room faces, if desperate using the compass on your Iphone! Often a colour, which looked great in a friend’s house in a sunny south-facing room, doesn’t work when you try it in a north-facing room on a grey winter’s day in your own house. Most paint companies are good at explaining which neutrals are “warm or cold” tinted, so “red”, “yellow” or “grey” based etc. and this is a good guide to getting things right. As a rule use a red or yellow based “neutral” in a north-facing room and a “cooler” tinted colour in a sunny south-facing room. I often find that slightly darker warm based colours look best in north-facing rooms (avoid very light tones) as they eliminate dark shadows and the greyish tinge so prevalent throughout the British winter.
  • Once you have the natural light (and paint colour) correct it’s time to focus on the remaining lighting as early on in the scheme as possible.  Low level lighting can be intimate, but it can also remind you of dingy student accommodation and encourage a quick exit from most rooms. Likewise, it’s difficult to have a relaxing bath or intimate dinner for two if the ceiling above is filled with recessed downlighters, also not flattering to most complexions!
  • As a general rule, identify what to light, as well as what not to light. The best lighting schemes then work on three to four levels (I always find it incredible how many homes there are with just a single pendant hanging in the ceiling), so that you can vary the light throughout the day and for different functions: General lighting, task lighting, accent and then the all important atmospheric/decorative kind.

General: the essential basis for a room, it should fill the majority of the room with a glow of light, glare free.

Task: allows you to fulfil a specific function or activity such as reading etc.

Accent: for defining a space or object, such as a painting or collection of objects on shelving

Decorative: “architectural jewellery” such as chandeliers, wall sconces and table lamps

And finally, there are now so many suppliers in the market that lighting can be as creative or functional, as cost effective or expensive, as you want it to be…

Here are a few of my favourites:

Pinch lights

For a relaxed look, possibly beachside, the “Beata” light from Pinch Design:
http://www.pinchdesign.com/

BTC "drop linear" light

For a contemporary feel it is hard to beat the range at BTC, “Drop Linear” light shown here
http://www.originalbtc.com/

I’ve always had a weakness for these George Nelson “Bubble Pendants” (below left), in the right context, and chandeliers in general, try the Vintage Chandelier Company.

George Nelson "bubble lights"

George Nelson “bubble lights”

chandeliers

The Vintage Chandelier Company

May 8th, 2013


In search of the perfect fabric for a nursery or children’s rooms…

Given that I am soon to become an Auntie for the first time, and with a rare couple of hours to spare between meetings in London, I could not resist a peek at some of the great designs currently on the market for decorating a nursery or children’s rooms.

I started out on London’s Walton Street at “The Nursery Window“, a shop I first discovered almost ten years ago when I was decorating my own children’s rooms. It’s been a favourite ever since…

The Nursery Window

“The Nursery Window” on London’s Walton Street

The name is almost a little misleading, as you might think that the range is targeted at babies and/or very young children. The products for nurseries are great, but one of the main reasons I return to the shop time and time again is because so many of the fabrics work for both very young and older children alike, so that they will not need replacing too quickly. Two of my favourites are for boys (I’m biased here – but they also have some excellent designs for girls.) They’re fun, bright, have “toddler” appeal, but the New World fabric in particular, would also not be too offending for an 11 or 12 year old.

"New World" fabric from "The Nursery Window"

“New World” fabric from The Nursery Window

"Trains" fabric from The Nursery Window

“Trains” fabric from The Nursery Window

Next stop was Tissus d’Hélène in the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour.

Tissus d'Hélène, Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour

Tissus d’Hélène, Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour

As always, I spent way too long in here (in danger of missing the meeting), but well worth it browsing the ranges from two American designers Katie Ridder and Peter Fasano. The “Hollywood” fabrics from Peter Fasano would be great for adding a contemporary feel to a girl’s room as would the Flamingo wallpaper from Cole & Son.

Fasano’s “Pitter Patter” range is good fun with colour ways to suit both girls and boys.

Flamingo" wallpaper from Cole & Son

“Flamingo” wallpaper from Cole & Son

Pitter Patter" fabric from Peter Fasano

“Pitter Patter” fabric from Peter Fasano

Hollywood" range of fabrics from Peter Fasano

“Hollywood” range of fabrics from Peter Fasano

I loved “Pagoda” by Kate Ridder and to be honest this could work for adults as well as children!

Pagoda" fabric by Kate Ridder

“Pagoda” fabric by Kate Ridder

Finally, on the way home (courtesy of another British Rail delay), I managed a bit of Internet surfing and spotted this fun design with bright red spitfires from PaperBoy. I also recently came across Cloth & Clover who kindly sent some samples of their “Peopleton” range. I have my eye on this, it comes in 6 colour ways to suit older/younger, girl or boy. This was my favourite…

"Peopleton" fabric by Cloth & Clover

“Peopleton” fabric by Cloth & Clover

"Spitfires" fabric at Paperboy

“Spitfires” fabric at Paperboy

 

 

 

 

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