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 23rd, 2017


Creative Journeys – bring design inspiration back from your travels

Some of the loveliest houses are ones that evolve over time and tell the story of where the owners have been. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot this summer, both for business and pleasure. Trips abroad always bring me home buzzing with ideas, whether it’s new colour combinations, local artwork, quirky details or a favourite iconic view that can be translated into a clever and unique fabric pattern. Much to the annoyance of my family and travel companions, I’m forever capturing these on film to use in future designs. When the UK is so grey, it’s a real pleasure to curl up at home against the shrinking daylight and hark back to days of summer when you were happiest with sand between your toes and a sunburnt nose.

So this post is a roam around the different ways you can use your travels to inspire your home and revisit some fabulous moments in the process. If you’re lucky enough to be blessed with great photography skills and large white walls, why not transpose your finest images onto canvases for a guaranteed feelgood boost every time you pass them?

Canada 2017

British Columbia, Canada

Or take colour ingenuity from stunning landscapes. Nature offers up irresistible colour schemes. A sunset over the sea inspires smoky rose and grey base colours with accents of amber, yellow and Wedgewood blues. No need to be too literal with your interpretation. Take what works for you…

tinekhome AW17 Collection

tinekhome AW17 Collection

and go easy on what doesn’t. Sunset yellows can be tricky to incorporate successfully into room schemes, so maybe these are best kept for reminiscing.

Pego Beach, Carvalhal, Portugal

Pego Beach, Carvalhal, Portugal

Pick and choose what works for you. It’s not the intensity of contrasts between sky and sand that intrigued me here… but the subtler resonances of the sea’s glassy greens against the ochre, which gave me some great palettes to experiment with in these fabric swatches.

Comporta beach Portugal and Linara Fabrics by Romo

Comporta beach Portugal and Linara Fabrics by Romo

When we travel we get a child’s sense of fun back. I came across these old photos in a basement gym in Tuscany. The theme of women playing sport gives a brilliant and witty twist linking the antique eclectic to the contemporary setting.

Villa La Massa, Florence

Villa La Massa, Florence

In the same hotel, these turn-of-the-century fashion sketches were artfully displayed using the dark teal wall instead of a mount to make them stand out. The uniform frames pull together the motley shapes of the cut-outs. There’s no glass – that’s just a reflection from the nearby window. Super effective and different.

Villa La Massa, Tuscany

Villa La Massa, Florence

Travel stimulates wonder and curiosity. So do great interiors. I loved this lady presiding over the reception desk in a Portuguese hotel and was intrigued to find out who she was, but no one seemed to know. Artwork with the hint of a story behind it injects energy into the overall design.

Palacio Ramalhete Hotel, Lisbon, Portugal

Palacio Ramalhete Hotel, Lisbon, Portugal

On your voyages, let your magpie mind roam free and pick up ideas worth reproducing back home. For anyone planning restrooms in a public place, this one is a must. A fun beachside lunch spot used Barbie and Ken dolls in swimwear to illustrate His and Hers. (Ken was in Speedos, but unfortunately I overexposed his photo. Spare me the puns!)

"Sals", Pego beach, Portgual

“Sals”, Pego beach, Portgual

From the ridiculous back to the sublime. Iconic views will never fail to inspire. Many will know this view taken from the top floor of the Paris Musée D’Orsay with the white hill of Montmartre in the background.

Rooftop view over Paris

Rooftop view over Paris

And here it is translated into a fabric design by one of my favourite fabric houses, Manuel Canovas.

Les Toits de Paris by Manuel Canovas (Colefax & Fowler)

Les Toits de Paris by Manuel Canovas (Colefax & Fowler)

I love the rich colour saturation in their cloth and the imaginative interpretations they put on travel. You can find this fabric here.

Or browse Rubelli or Zoffany for Venice-inspired design.

And finally, if you simply can’t resist bringing something back from abroad more three-dimensional than inspiration alone, enjoy a virtual wander through two recent discoveries in Portugal, the gorgeous home stores of Avida Portuguesa and Tine K Home – they both ship to the UK.

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

March 19th, 2016


Top 5 picks from London Design Week 2016 – “Travel, colour, curiosities, orange and a lot of geometric”!

The winter has seemed particularly long and grey this year so it was with some welcome relief that I headed up to London Design Week to check out the new season Spring/Summer ranges. I wasn’t disappointed, being greeted by this colourful and highly inventive floral display by renowned florist Philippa Craddock, which picks up on the season’s geometric theme.

Eye-catching floral display by Philippa Craddock

Eye-catching floral display by Philippa Craddock

Five hours later I was happily trying to distil the mass of colour, pattern and products into some key themes; here are my top five picks:

Travel

I loved the simple new range of washed linens from Nobilis and how the colours (and even the way the fabrics were hung) reminded me of one of my favourite places, Portofino Harbour. See the similarities below with a recent holiday snap! There is a coordinating range of wallpapers (right), with a more luxurious feel contrasting against the linen.

New range of washed linens from Nobilis and a recent holiday snap of Portofino!

New range of washed linens from Nobilis and a recent holiday snap of Portofino!

Continuing the theme of travel and holiday snaps, I also spotted this new fabric from Manuel Canovas with a “Rooftops of Paris” theme (left), this time reminding me of the view that I can’t resist snapping (see below!) from the Musée D’Orsay in Paris. The range also includes this fun fashion themed design, Le Parisienne Noir et Blanc (right).

Two new fabrics from Manuel Canovas "Les Toits de Paris Ardoise" and "La Parisienne Noir/Blanc".

Two new fabrics from Manuel Canovas “Les Toits de Paris Ardoise” and “La Parisienne Noir/Blanc

Colour

Colour continues its strong comeback, this time in the form of orange, pink, zesty lime green and turquoise…

Colourful geometric rugs from Mahout, a newcomer to the Design Centre, alongside fabrics from Jim Thompson and Manuel Canovas

Colourful geometric rugs from Mahout, a newcomer to the Design Centre, alongside fabrics from Jim Thompson and Manuel Canovas

Curiosities

Below is another striking set of new designs from wallpaper specialists Cole & Son, as beautifully and cleverly presented as always. It’s called “Curio” and is a knock-out combination of malachite and gold, inspired by the “rarities and objets d’art of nature”. The geometric feel of the hexagonal Mineral design and sharp edged Quartz contrasts with  the botanical Seafern patterns and the softly marbled Zebrawood design.

The new "Curio" collection from wallpaper specialist Cole & Son

The new “Curio” collection from wallpaper specialist Cole & Son

Orange

“Orange” is huge this season. We like it best when used sparingly, preferably with teal or dark blue! I loved this design in the Fox Linton/Jim Thompson showroom for impact. It’s a lovely recreation of an 18th Century Chinese embroidery, the pattern is traditional but the colour combination is contemporary and lively.

 Broderique   Bonsai of the vanities /  Jim Thompson       An innovative recreation of an 18th Century Chinese embroidery. The pattern is traditional but the colour combination is contemporary and lively; the peonies positively burst forth in four vivacious colorways

Broderique, Bonsai of the vanities by Jim Thompson

Geometrics

Last, but not least, the popularity of geometric designs continues. For maximum impact there are many in monochrome tones, such as this new design by Thibaut, which is part of a colourful range of graphic patterns in both large and small scales.

New range of large and small scale geometrics by Thibaut

New range of large and small scale geometrics by Thibaut

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

 

Site: Rosen