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 7th, 2014


More travel inspiration… Paris in the autumn

I’m always intrigued by the rise of the “Boutique Hotel” and its huge influence on residential interior design. So when I was given the chance to spend one of the last weekends of this beautiful Indian summer at the the Hotel Recamier in Paris, I took it!  Arriving at the Gare du Nord, it was an amazing 23 degrees, clear blue skies, yet the trees were already turning orange…Paris in the autumn

We arrived at the Hotel Recamier , a small boutique hotel just next to the Place Saint-Sulpice. I had read a write-up on the hotel in Homes and Gardens magazine and kept it on my “must-visit” list. It didn’t disappoint. Tucked away in a corner of the square, it has great views of the church of Saint-Sulpice  known as the “cathedral of the Rive Gauche”. This was the view of the church, and all its wonderful baroque architecture, from the hotel bedroom balcony.

Hotel Recamier, Place Saint Sulpice
Hotel Recamier, Place Saint Sulpice
Church Saint Sulpice

Church Saint Sulpice

It felt similar to “six storeys of traditional London townhouse”, albeit with a Parisian twist, with quality fixtures, wrought-iron balconies and a great selection of fabrics, all of which could quite easily be used in your own home. Here are some of the design details from the bedrooms (note the use of braiding on cushions, blinds, edging curtains), the lounge and also some space-saving ideas for bathrooms. Many of the fabrics were from Jim Thompson (Check mate), Brunschwig & Fils and Romo. The throws and accessories were from Le Bon Marche (they post to the UK). I loved the use of this simple grosgrain braid to jazz up the roman blinds in the stairwells, you could find very similar at Samuel & Sons.

Hotel Recamier, Place Saint-Sulpice, Paris

Room 51 (!), Hotel Recamier, Paris

Blind detail...

Blind detail…

Lounge and writing desk at the Hotel Recamier

Lounge and writing desk at the Hotel Recamier

Hotel Recamier

The bathrooms were very well designed, given the limited space. I loved the decorative touch of the 40’s style mirrors. I’ve been trying to track one down, it’s the “Goutte” mirror by Hubert Le Gall ?

Space-saving bathroom ideas, Hotel Recamier

Space-saving bathroom ideas, Hotel Recamier

You can imagine my delight on Saturday morning when I woke up to a “flea market” right on the square next to the hotel. No need to head up to the North of Paris then! Purchases were a bit restrained by “will this fit on the Eurostar?”, but one of my great finds was the beautiful designs of a very creative Parisian fashion and textiles student.

Saturday flea market - Place Saint-Sulpice

Saturday flea market – Place Saint-Sulpice

And finally here are a couple of my favourite window displays, hidden among some of the great shops between the Place Saint-Sulpice and the Boulevard St Germain… and the “rooftops” photo I took from the top of the Musee D’Orsay with Sacre Coeur in the background.

hat window display

Window display, Place Saint-Sulpice Paris

Rooftops. Paris in the autumn

Rooftops, Paris in the autumn

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

 

November 14th, 2013


One very inspirational space… the home of artist, Jessica Zoob

I was recently lucky enough to visit the studio and home of the artist Jessica Zoob - Jessica’s paintings are best described as “contemporary impressionism” and are frequently influenced by nature and the surrounding countryside near her home in Lewes, Sussex. I first noticed her work a couple of years ago at Decorex and bought my first piece today!

As well as being a fan of her work,  I was also very taken with Jessica’s home – it has a unique style, one that I wanted to share on the blog today (with kind permission)… as it is one of the most successful “neutral” schemes I have come across in a while.

The secret of the scheme’s success is that the neutral colour palette allows the artwork to really stand out, whilst remaining welcoming and individual. In particular, it strikes that sometimes hard to achieve balance of not trying too hard, yet being a very memorable space which just works.

The one area that really stood out for me was a top floor room, which was previously a “lean-to” on the side of the house over a garage. It’s now a great example of how to turn a smaller space into something quite special, flooded with light and with views of the sky.

Jessica Zoob's home

The light-filled space on the top floor of Jessica’s house – previously a “lean-to”!

Home of artist Jessica Zoob

“Sofa with a view” – you can almost see the “South Downs” over the shutters…

The large wall on the left provides a great space to showcase one of Jessica’s paintings. Oversized is definitely the way to go here as a smaller piece would not have nearly the same impact. (I made a “note to self” as I had visited with the intention of buying a smaller scale piece!).

Another nice detail is the painting technique on the wall, where the colour has been cleverly rubbed back to blend with the canvas. If you look closely at the sofa (top right) you can also see a sneak preview of the soon to be available cushions that Jessica has designed in collaboration with fabric house Romo http://www.romoblack.com/jessica_zoob_cushion_preview.  The reproduction detail is excellent.

Top floor space in the home of the artist, Jessica Zoob.

The large over-sized painting works as a striking back-drop

And finally, the next few images just pick up on some of the smaller details in the space, in particular the wood carvings, which were done by locally-based Karl Smith of Carved Oak .

Home of artist Jessica Zoob

The carved images and alternate paint colours on the stairs up to the top floor…

Home of artist Jessica Zoob

… and the carving leading down to the ground floor, which used to be a garage! I like the mix of different scale paintings in this area, as effective as the over-sized canvasses when grouped together.

P.S Lewes is also a great destination for sourcing interesting homewares “outside London” at sensible prices, more on that in my next post next month …

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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