Welcome to my website. I thought I might share some additional things with you from time to time, here in my journal. Perhaps a new find or a recent installation, or just a little something to inspire you to add an extra piece of lovely into your home. One can rarely say their house is exactly as they want it….our needs and wants are constantly changing. Kids grow older, wardrobes start bulging and sofas get tattier. So, if you are thinking of an overhaul or just in need of seeing something fresh, take a look here from time to time.
A visit to Peter Layton’s London Glassblowing last year, in search of a ‘Big Birthday’ present from my lovely husband, got me hooked on the molten stuff. The gallery is an enchanting place as it opens your eyes to the incredible dexterity of glassworkers: the details, the colours, the complexity and the variety. It is home to a number of resident artists who constantly push the boundaries of glass. In addition there are regularly new exhibitions with guest artists alongside Layton’s eponymous sculptural work. Louis Thompson caught my eye – picture this collection in front of a window. Magnificent. Another compelling collection of Thompson’s artworks shows his interest in colour.
Unusually, you can watch the glassblowers at work in the onsite studio. I was blown away and commissioned Bruce Marks to make one of his incredible Bird series for me. The sand blown surface did it. Pride of place it has. By sheer coincidence my lovely brother gave me the gift of a glassblowing class at the gallery and this propelled my appreciation into another sphere. The talented Anthony Scala was our wonderful tutor for the day, and, as he said, the day would imbue a heightened sense of the skill, difficulty and virtuosity required to be a successful glassblower. As it was December, the furnace, with it’s molten vat of glass at 1400°C, wrapped us up in a warm welcome. We spent the day attentively dipping, turning, blowing and twisting, all with a sense of magic and I loved every minute. If only it didn’t need such a serious amount of kit….I could joyfully take it on as a hobby.
And there you have it. One of my finished pieces, which took 3 days to cool down to room temperature. Another pride of place. If reincarnation does occur – I’d like to come back as a glassblower.
Constantly on the prowl for inspiration, I trotted off to the Fashion & Textile Museum in Bermondsey this week with my friend, also an interior designer, to see the Josef Frank exhibition. Although trained as an architect, we know him for his pioneering textile designs which redefined Swedish Modern.He was a most prolific designer and painter, creating 160 patterns for textile print, resulting in a dizzyingly colourful array of wild and wonderful stuff. Drawing on the natural world, where riotous squid and lobster sit alongside vibrant tropical flowers and oversized leaves, Franks designs are the antithesis of the utilitarian Swedish aesthetic common in the 1930’s. If the international cream and beige hotel is your interior of choice then Franks textiles may not appeal but if uplifting colour and a sense of joie de vivre is attractive, then how could you not be inspired?
Most of us are familiar with the iconic design of Nanna Ditzel’s egg shaped chair floating in the air. Since the distinctive sculptural shape was created in 1959, it has enjoyed critical acclaim and is still in production.A decade later, in 1968, Eero Aarnio designed possibly the most renowned hanging chair: The Bubble. He said ‘I wanted to have the light inside it and so I had the idea of a transparent ball where light omes from all directions. The only suitable material is acrylic which is heated and blown into shape by a soap bubble.’A recent discovery is Lee Brooms Hanging Hoop Chair. Two circular hoops join to create simplicity in elegance.The hanging chair I am currently lusting over is Tom Raffield’s Amble hanging chair. Crafted from steam bent ash in Cornwall, it invites you to ‘move slowly’ or amble. The additional sheepskin rug is a must.You could most definitely swing in style perched in one of these.
I know I should probably have posted a little Chinese New Year celebratory message some time ago, but heck, better late than never, eh? We are currently in the Year of the Sheep. Didn’t know that, huh? As a lover of most things sheep connected (slow roast lamb, prancing lambs in green fields, sheepskin jackets, Ariens) I turn my attention to sheep inside.
Now, I wouldn’t suggest that you keep a live one indoors, but consider the by-product of the meat industry for warmth, cosiness and its sheer snuggle up to factor. It is winter after all!
Whether it be a long haired Mongolian skin or short shorn Cumbrian, in its natural off white, brown or grey tones or vividly coloured, the texture is pretty maximalist. And I love texture. I’ve used it in cushions, stools and chairs, and share some with you now.A little introduction can do wonders.Or you could REALLY push the boat out with something like this!And how about this beauty named, if you don’t mind, ‘Tired Man’. Well, tell you what . . . this woman gets pretty tired every now and then…Designed in 1935 would you believe? I want one now.
The baby girl, whose room I had decorated many years earlier, had sprouted. It happens. Boo hoo hoo. She and her mum wanted a scheme that would take her through her teens – in comfort and in style. I have to say it takes a certain amount of trust to embark on blowing up things out of all proportion. . . . . . so, hats off to this client.
With the help of digital capabilities, we magnified the image so that the flower heads became the size of large Space Hoppers and the petals, in all their blooming perfection were ready to drop. We then zoomed in to crop it to the desired flower heads, coaxing a couple into and round the corner. It became apparent that the spider on the original yellow flower would become the size of a large saucepan and possibly the stuff of nightmares, so it was erased!
The image was better flipped right to left so that the mirror image allowed lighter areas of the background to become the main colour for the secondary wall.
The utterly unique wallpaper was delivered and hung; and we all agreed it to be breath-taking. And take note – the original oil painting is only 15 inches wide. Go back and look at it!There were no holds barred, so yes, I had some fun with this one. A lush custom designed bed for young Sleeping Beauty was a given. We plumped the room up with fat bulging salmon pink upholstery for lounging and reading by the window; well, we had to counterbalance the necessary desk somehow! I get giddy just looking at the photo . . . . A Mirror ball for glamour and fun – how could you not?Extravagantly sumptuous curtains with textures and beading.All added up to a gorgeous space – I could easily move in!But does anyone else think this chick would really like a dog? Like, REALLY like one.
As it is St Patricks Day today it seems fitting to share what’s on my mind. Kelly green is not a hue often used in the UK in interiors, but worth considering if you want to add something eye-catching and notable. A large investment of this most positive of hues is for the brave hearted, I must admit, but look at the dividends in this fabulous sofa specified by Kate Hume.A little splash can uplift an ordinary thing into a piece of wonder. Take Goldman & Rankin’s nod to it within a wardrobe – what a smile inducing surprise that would be!I have been looking at geometric rugs for a project recently and came across this beauty from the Rug Company.This morning I received my lovely package of samples from Christopher Farr following a meeting on their latest collection. Mmmmm delicious. Feast your eyes on this Curica by Cloth. All that’s left now is for me to wish you a very Happy St Patricks Day!
Everybody has been jumping on the ‘Grey’ bandwagon, groan. One supplier emailed with the words ‘most anticipated movie of the year’ whilst trying to sell me grey items. Really? I say, any shade at all as long as it isn’t grey today! And to kick colour back into the forefront, here’s a little reminder of a few I prepared earlier… Oooh, and look! The sun is shining!
Sometimes a project comes along that you have a great gut feeling about. And so it was with this beautiful country house outside Guildford. As a result of having worked together on their previous London home, the client and I had already established that very important rapport and understanding that helps a project run smoothly. A family home, with a need for accommodating different levels of entertainment, the house was completely gutted and reconfigured by their architect opening up the spaces to provide generous light filled rooms. Very much a collaborative journey with the client, we created interiors packed with charm and character. Little from the London home was not put to good use again; we employed a fresh take on an old sofa here and there with modern touches to cushions and upholstery. Hand blocked wallpapers were selected to introduce pattern in a soft palette with the odd splash of colour thrown in for good measure. For the full tour, take a look at the Guildford Home portfolio.
It is during September that we designers don our comfortable flat shoes, bag our notebooks and pocket cameras and get set to tour the London Design Festival trade shows. There is a vast array across the city and it is difficult to pick and choose if one is to carry on any semblance of a normal working life, but ooh, is it exciting! There is nothing better than coming across a new find, either a product or a fledgling company, and this year did not disappoint. So, from visiting 100% Design, Decorex and Focus, I bring you my favourites. Starting with Merian Palm wallpaper from Timorous Beasties. What a show stopper! I fell for the new luxurious range of upholstery from Talisman, a company I already adore for its groovy antiques, and in particular their Swivel Love Chair. How could one walk past without taking the weight off ones feet? An interesting and elegant bench that would sit beautifully alone in an unadorned corner comes from Slow Wood, based in Milan, where I cut my teeth in interior design. Introducing the D.R.D.P. I forgot to ask what the letters stood for! I was thrilled to come across Blackpop, a wallpaper and fabric design company relatively new to the interior design scene. In particular I was really taken with Duprez. Lighting is an area of particular interest to me, and I found a great example in the Pugil floor lamp from Bert Frank. A cheeky little addition to my picks is the Milo from Lightovo. A pendant light and greenhouse rolled into one for fun.Penultimate pick is the Angel dining chair from Tom Faulkner, a beauty finished in bronze. Still a prototype, but shown here with the Angel Table.And, leaving the First Prize til last, is the 17 branch chandelier from Gtable. Swoon……My feet ached, but it was worth it.
Last year I had the thrill of creating a bedroom for a young teenager who had outgrown the one I had helped with some seven years earlier. The brief was to create a room that would suit both studying in peace and hanging out with a group of friends; it was to look evolved rather than all perfectly matching. We reused much of the original furniture and added in a few more ‘feature’ pieces, most notably the custom designed bed, with a wrap-around armed headboard to encourage quality get together time. A feature wall of digitally photographed flowers juxtaposes beautifully with the lace curtains and battered velvet pelmets to the windows. Whilst I was sorry initially to see the floral Cath Kidston wallpapered bedroom originally created for the 8yr old being replaced, I have to say that the final product is utterly fabulous! More importantly, it was probably the most fun I have had on a project, as I was able to indulge my inner teenager and secretly pretend it was mine! We went on a hunt together for vintage treasures to adorn shelves for a 3D display and…… who wouldn’t want a Bubble Chair hanging from the ceiling? Thanks Miss P for letting me be a teenager once again!