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.





October 21st, 2015


The Midas Touch – Gold is the new Black

It’s been a while, but we can officially confirm that gold is back and taking on the role of the “new black”. It seems like the ten year love affair with chrome is finally coming to an end. Many are still wavering in the middle with the ever popular copper and grey, but here we take a look at the beauty of gold and brass, which by the way, look great with navy.

Winning combination of Navy and Gold

Image found on habituallychic.luxury

At Decorex last month we were relieved to see that both brass and gold finishes are more subtle this time around with warm rather than yellow tones and antiqued and brushed finishes being popular. We loved the warmer and softer shades of brass, burnished gold and hammered bronze. Gold still has a place, but it seems to be ‘affected’ in some way – hammered, brushed or blackened to give it a modern feel. It’s now also often used for pieces with an industrial edge, previously the preserve of black or silver metal.

If you want to follow the trend here are our top five picks:

First up is the Day Birger Et Mikkelsen Hammered Coffee Table from Amara, bang on trend with the hammered top and industrial feel to the legs. We also can’t resist the side table Golden Set from Mufti for its warm yet subtle tones.

Day Birger Et Mikkelsen Hammered Coffee Table -

Day Birger Et Mikkelsen Hammered Coffee Table in Gold from Amara

 

Side table golden set from Mufti

Side table golden set from Mufti

Next on our wish list are these bone china Gold Mugs from Alfred and Wilde, we like the combination of modern geometric and bright gold.

Gold and china mugs from Alfred and Wilde

Gold and china mugs from Alfred and Wilde

 

For a more traditional take (and moving onto the bathroom from the living room/kitchen) is this collaboration between the brassware specialist Samuel Heath and Royal Crown Derby. It combines hand finished brassware and hand moulded and intricately decorated fine bone china. We also continue to love the bronze collection from Samuel Heath.

New collection from Samuel Heath in collaboration with Royal Crown Derby

New collection from Samuel Heath in collaboration with Royal Crown Derby

Our fourth and favourite way to follow the trend is with a piece of artwork as your starting point, where better to start than with the colour combinations in these works in progress from contemporary impressionist artist Jessica Zoob.

Rich blues paired with gold in some recent works in progress by artist Jessica Zoob (image with kind permission from Jessica)

Rich blues paired with gold in some recent works in progress by artist Jessica Zoob (image with kind permission from Jessica)

And finally, if you can’t bring yourself to replace chrome  just yet; try introducing some warmer tones with lighting. These table lamps from West Elm are a nice nod to the trend without overdoing it!

Industrial Task Table Lamp - Black & Antique Brass from West Elm

Industrial Task Table Lamp – Black & Antique Brass from West Elm

August 23rd, 2015


Jessica Zoob open house and Lewes Artwave Festival

This week’s Sunday bliss was a visit to the Open House of artist Jessica Zoob in Lewes, Sussex. Regular readers will know that Jessica is one of my favourite artists (understatement)! For anyone who has not yet come across her work, it is best described as “contemporary impressionism” frequently influenced by nature and the surrounding countryside near her home in Lewes (which is in turn beautiful and makes for a great day out)!

Whilst it is always a pleasure to see her formal exhibitions (the most recent one was at the Loughran Gallery) I particularly loved viewing Jessica’s  work in the informal setting of her house/studio, which she throws open several weekends a year as part of the Lewes Artwave Festival.  It was an opportunity to see them “uncurated”, partly in groupings according to style, but also as an array of different styles, clashing colours, including some surprising earlier pieces. You can see more of her work on the website http://www.jessicazoob.com/collections, but here are some snippets from yesterday’s visit:

Jessica Zoob Open House Lewes Artwave Festival

Jessica Zoob Open House Lewes Artwave Festival

Jessica Zoob Open House Lewes Artwave Festival

Finally, I wanted to include this one, which surprised me… the layering/rubbing back of the oil is probably the give-away, but otherwise a very original earlier piece.

Jessica Zoob Open House Lewes Artwave Festival

You can find the Jessica Zoob Open Studio at: Holly House, 26 De Montfort Road, Lewes  BN7 1SR

During Lewes Artwave, it is open from 12 – 6 pm on the weekends of 29th and 30th August, and 5th and 6th September 2015.

February 18th, 2015


Kick-starting an art collection

A recent lunchtime talk by Jonathon Carroll, co-founder of the contemporary art gallery Carroll/Fletcher was the inspiration for this blog. He hit the nail on the head commenting that so many of us are drawn to art, but somehow also fear it and wonder how and what to begin collecting. An ex-city trader, Jonathan began visiting art galleries while living in the US, as a way of escaping the crazy pace of life. He knew what he liked, got to know the artists personally, started a collection and then his own gallery. He didn’t necessarily see it as an investment, more as something that gave him great enjoyment and to be purchased with discretionary income.

I found myself nodding in agreement with much of what he said. Clients are often cautious about purchasing art, feeling that they are not creative enough and wondering where to start and how much it is going to cost. For designers, art is one of the hardest items to source on behalf of someone else as it is just so “personal”. It is also probably often the best starting point to inspire the colours and themes of entire schemes. So here are some thoughts to kick-start a collection.

Use a favourite piece of artwork as a starting point for a scheme

If you have the luxury of starting from scratch, choose a piece that you love and use it to inspire a scheme. Here are some of my favourite examples where the art makes or breaks the room.

From left to right: Ben Pentreath, Jessica Zoob and Mary Fox-Linton, Veere Grenney, Suzanne Kasler

From left to right: Ben Pentreath, Jessica Zoob and Mary Fox-Linton, Veere Grenney, Suzanne Kasler

Find an artist you like, get to know them and start collecting

Many readers will have heard of Jessica Zoob. I fell in love with her style a couple of years ago, visited her studio and began my journey as a mini-collector of sorts, buying a couple of pieces that give me enormous pleasure every time I walk into the room.  I particularly like the darker colours she has recently started to work with, but keeping her instantly recognisable trademark “Lilly” ….

"Midnight Water 2" by Jessica Zoob

“Midnight Water 2″ by Jessica Zoob

It might be a hobby or a passion that steers you towards an artist or illustrator

I recently came across this “Coffee Art” by artist and illustrator, Eliza Southwood, who creates custom-produced works of art inspired by the professional cycling peloton using dark-roasted coffee beans. Perfect for a cycling-enthusiast’s kitchen then!

"Coffee Peleton" by Eliza Southwood

“Coffee Peleton” by Eliza Southwood

In a different vein I’m currently working with a client who has a “passion for fashion” and these Brian Stonehouse 50’s Vogue Fashion illustrations have a been a fantastic starting point for a dressing room scheme. Abbott and Holder Ltd recently held an exhibition of his work and I believe they plan to hold more.

1950s Vogue fashion illustrations by Brian Stonehouse

1950s Vogue fashion illustrations by Brian Stonehouse

Finally, coming back to where this blog started with the talk by Jonathon Carroll, it opened my eyes to several newer forms of art where both established and newer artists are using a diverse range of media to explore themes related to technology and social media etc. Have a look at Kim Asendorf and Ole Fach’s playful investigation of what the physical world looks like through the eyes of a computer. Or, if you’re still unsure, the next Affordable Art Fair takes place in Battersea, London next month on 12th to 15th March.

December 18th, 2014


Contemporary living in Long Ditton – some of the rooms we transformed in 2014

2014 has been a great year for the practice with lots of exciting new projects in many different styles. In the next few posts we’ll be showcasing some of the properties we transformed with some classic “before and after” photos – we hope you enjoy and keep following!

In December last year the owners of this significantly extended 1930’s cottage asked us to create a luxurious, elegant, impressive and modern home. We wanted to honour the original architecture of the house while successfully integrating more recent extensions. They have built up a mixture of architectural and furniture styles over the years and our challenge was to make old and new work in harmony, where modern classic meets contemporary wow!

“BEFORE”

Interior Design

“BEFORE”

  And “AFTER”

"AFTER" Traditional and contemporary side-by-side in the sitting room

Traditional and more contemporary pieces side-by-side in the sitting room

 

These stunning lamps make a statement in the master bedroom

These stunning lamps make a statement in the master bedroom

 

In the modern kitchen extension the focus was on "contemporary wow" softened with wooden accents and interesting artwork

In the modern kitchen extension the focus was on “contemporary wow” softened with wooden accents and interesting artwork

 

We created a colourful home office within the kitchen area

We created a colourful home office within the kitchen area…

 

Updated the hall with some strong architectural pieces leading into the contemporary extension

… and updated the hall with some strong architectural pieces leading into the contemporary extension

 

This print by artist Jessica Zoob " A place to rest"  became the focal point for the tired guest room and inspired the colours for the new lamps, accessories and soft furnishings

This print by artist Jessica Zoob ” A Time to Rest” became the focal point for the guest room and inspired the colours for the new lamps, accessories and soft furnishings

 

.. and also gave the garden a make-over

.. and finally we also gave the garden a make-over

 

We had fun with these bright contemporary chairs, always a talking point ...

We had fun with these bright contemporary chairs, always a talking point …

March 13th, 2014


Top 5 Trends at London Design Week 2014

If the recent reappearance of the sun and spring like weather has given you the urge to start decorating, here is some must-have inspiration from London Design Week 2014.  The London Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour looked amazing this year with the main theme being “hot pink” and providing a real feel-good factor with the sun shining after a winter of floods and grey skies! As always, huge effort and creativity had gone into the displays…

London Design Week 2014 hot pink

The “hot pink” theme and cloudless skies left you with that “Spring has sprung” feeling…

London Design Week 2014

Geometrics

Geometrics are featuring on a huge number of products this season, cleverly applied to fabrics, wallpapers, carpets and even tables. GP & J Baker has just launched the Iconic David Hicks by Ashley Hicks collections featuring some very useable and timeless designs. The designs were taken from the original archive patterns and produced in collaboration with his son, Ashley Hicks.

The iconic David Hicks collection just launched by GP & J Baker

The iconic David Hicks collection just launched by GP & J Baker

GP & J Baker wallpapers

Geometric designs also featuring strongly on wallpapers at GP & J Baker

How clever and striking is this “Honeycomb” table by lighting specialists Porta Romana, taking the trend for geometrics and interpreting it in their own unique way…?

Porto Romana London design week 2014

The “Honeycomb” console table by Porta Romana

Botanicals

“Botanicals” in all shapes and colours, predominantly bright and large scale, also dominated the showrooms. Take a look at Woodville by Zoffany for prints and embroideries, Manuel Canovas for large scale designs with a distinctly tropical feel and Sanderson’s “voyage of discovery” for a slightly “safer” interpretation of the trend.

The new botanical and rainforest ranges from Sanderson

The new botanical and rainforest ranges from Sanderson

... and some welcome respite from hot pink with a bright turquoise stylised design from Manuel Canovas

… and some welcome respite from hot pink with a bright turquoise stylised design from Manuel Canovas

I loved this quirky take on a "botanical" theme by Sahco

I loved this quirky take on a “botanical” theme by Sahco

Artists, “painterly” and the textile revolution

I have to confess, I have already featured this trend a couple of times (see posts in February and last November.) One of the biggest fabric launches this year to date is the “DESIRE” collection – a collaboration between artist Jessica Zoob and fabric house Romo.  Romo has reproduced Jessica’s paintings full-size on three-metre wide fabric panels, as well as printed on linen and velvet by the metre. There are cushions too! I love the boldness of the collection and would even go so far to say that it is arguably leading a textile revolution! I am hopeful that we will see more exciting launches along these lines.

"DESIRE" a collaboration between artist Jessica Zoob and fabric house Romo

“DESIRE” a collaboration between artist Jessica Zoob and fabric house Romo

Gold is the new black!

Whilst chrome continues to be the finish of choice and bronze is a very strong current alternative, inevitably the taste for metallics has precipitated a trend for “gold” from high shine to more subtle matt. I found these tiles below in the Anne Sacks showroom. The Nanz Company were also featuring the return of gold/brass ironmongery in their display window.

Gold and bronze metallic tiles from the Anne Sacks showroom

Gold and bronze metallic tiles from the Anne Sacks showroom

Where did “grey” go ?…  and hello my favourite timeless blue

Following the launch of the winter ranges back in the Autumn last year no one could dispute the predominance of grey. Paint specialists Little Greene had unveiled twenty eight new shades of grey,  Farrow & Ball had included five in their nine new colours and around fifty percent of the rooms in the recent “Great Interior Design Challenge” were painted in grey!  However, it has now been well and truly banished for Spring/Summer 2014 and for anyone finding the brights and patterns all a bit too much,  I loved this timeless collection in the GP & J Baker showroom of soft muted blues. It’s still bang on trend with a geometric pattern and botanical designs – but this time embroidered and with more muted colours!

Blues GP & J Baker

 

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