Category Archives: Sourced from Britain

Bunnies for life (not just for Easter)

If, like me, you adore HAM’s prints featuring the quirky antics of a unflappable rabbit going about his daily business (as they do), then you’ll love artist Jo’s latest designs:

Ham Print via findthedetails.com HAM print via findthedetails.com Ham print via findthedetails.com HAM print via findthedetails.com HAM print via findthedetails.com

[All images, courtesy HAM]

The yoga print is my favourite – the perfect gift for a real life yoga bunny?

With a long weekend in sight, who knows, maybe you’ll be joining him as he takes up yoga, does a little DIY, or heads to the seaside (let me know if you make it to the trapeze…)

Shop the prints, plus cards and bone china mugs directly at HAM.

Happy Easter! Jx

 

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Blown away: pendant lighting in a rainbow of shades

The beautiful hand-blown glass pendant lights created by Rothschild & Bickers just serve to emphasise my indecisiveness: how can I choose just one? But their Pick N Mix collection of simple glass pendants should help me out: aptly named, the lights come in a range of several pared-down shapes, and look wonderful as a varied group:

First, choose the shapes:

R&B pendant lights via findthedetails.com

Then there’s the colour to think about: naturally I’m drawn to this blue / grey Denim palette:

R&S pendant lights via findthedetails.com

But lovers of brights will be happy:

R&S pendant lights via findthedetails.com

Pendant lights via findthedetails.com

Finally, say goodbye to boring white flexes:

R&S flex colours via findthedetails.com

… then hang and enjoy! They’d look wonderful in a light-filled hallway, kitchen and kitchen/diner…anywhere with a ceiling, basically…

If these shapes are too simple, you can confuse matters more by browsing their other products. This Flora pendant is both highly decorative and elegant:

R&S pendants via findthedetails.com

And I love the curvaceous Bubble pendant:

R&S pendants via findthedetails.com

 [all images, courtesy of Rothschild & Bickers, photography Simon Camper

Take a look and get in touch – they’ll help with the decision process, if, like me, you just can’t choose one! Jx

Gehry comes to London: Battersea Power Station

For years, as buses and trains ferried me across the River Thames and back, like many Londoners I watched as the magnificent Battersea Power Station stood empty; occupying a huge, derelict wasteland site, right on the banks of the river, all the while looking like this:

Work started on the long overdue redevelopment in Autumn 2012 and the consortium have just announced today that two of the world’s leading architecture practices, Gehry Partners and Foster + Partners will be working together on the site’s regeneration, creating residential homes along what will be known as the High Street, leading to the completed Power Station looking something like this:
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[images, Battersea Power Station redevelopment consortium] 

Whilst Foster + Partners architecture is integral to the fabric of this city: it’s impossible to go far in central London without coming across some of this remarkable team’s work (think: Canary Wharf Underground station; City Hall; the Great Court at the British Museum, the Millennium Bridge just as a start), this will be the first time that a Gehry building has been built in London. Gehry Partners’ work challenges our conceptions of what form and shape a building should take, working within its chosen landscape; altering it, always thought provoking yet supremely functional, whether the practice is creating a world renowned art gallery, such as the Guggenheim in Bilbao, northern Spain (below), or a restorative space for cancer sufferers and their families (Maggie’s Centre, Dundee, two below).

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[images, The Guardian

Take a train trip into London any day at the moment, and the skyline will be dotted with dozens of angular cranes creating new buildings: some wonderful to look at, others more… interesting (the under-construction skyscraper, so-called the Walkie-Talkie caused a stir this summer with its car-melting properties…).

I can’t wait to see how the Gehry vision, together with the Foster vision, translates into creating part of what will be a completely new area in south London to explore and discover; relax and live.

Vintage football memorabilia? In Tunbridge Wells? And a whirlwind shopping trip…

A flying visit into The Pantiles, in Tunbridge Wells, specifically to get a present for a football-mad friend. With its nationwide reputation for all that’s genteel in life, Tunbridge Wells may seem an unlikely place to shop for football related gifts, but I was there for half an hour this morning and came away successful….

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Amongst the elegant Georgian colonnades are shops selling a very English mix of quality kitchens and cookware; beautiful dresses for children and brides; cameras and curtain poles and lots of covetable vintage. First up was Barnett Fry in the Corn Exchange (no website, call them on 01892 525929): this tiny shop is filled with collectable books, toys, children’s books and masses of football memorabilia:  

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Whilst the Pantiles Bookshop sells bargain priced secondhand paperbacks, plus toys and good quality secondhand hardbacks in store:

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But I’d come here for a different reason, so I had to turn away from the beautiful plants and decorative garden accessories at Gardener & Cook:

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And also from this delicate, patterned, colourful antique Chinese porcelain at Yiju

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At the The Spa Galleries (01892 542647) I loved this contemporary butterfly print, and these original black and white original etchings from the 1950s – 1960s:

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But this whirlwind shopping trip had another purpose: to shop for a PASSIONATE Everton supporter’s birthday: so this is what I came home with…. I hope he’s pleased!

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You can discover more about The Pantiles here – regular weekend markets take place along its length, with even more stalls selling vintage buys; there are also food festivals, where stalls sell local produce grown and/or created in Kent and Sussex (I’m heading back soon….)

Geometric, graphic, colourful: Mid Century patterns, at home

Archives: reading press releases for fabric collections that include what are described as ‘archival prints’ prompts me to think about these fascinating hunting grounds for inspiration. How lucky we are (both textile designers and us ‘civilians’? ‘non-designers’? or the more prosaic ‘shoppers’?) that these historical resources are kept for us, ready to be viewed should we decide to take an interest in their subject.

The Victoria & Albert Museum has several archives which are open to the public on request, including one relating to furnishing textiles within in the Art & Design Archive. Here you’ll find records of popular fabrics sold in department stores such as Heals from the 1920s onwards:

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[Image: page from a sample album, Heals, 1922, V&A Archives]

…plus the archives of individual designers including two of my favourites, Lucienne Day and Jaqueline Groag. The current passion for Mid Century design means that 1950s fabric and wallpaper designs by luminaries such as Lucienne Day and Jacqueline Groag and their contemporary Robert Stewart are a talking point once again. The typical ’50’s design includes geometry, inventive colour contrasts and graphic, repetitive patterns: perfect for today’s decorative schemes.

Take a look at these images, reproduced from the V&A archives:

Mainly blues; some pictorial; others graphic:

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And there are patterns in pastel shades:

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Plus ones in those sludgy hues, typical of the 1950’s:

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And some fresh white/green combinations which make me think of stereotypical ’50s housewives with their aprons and Formica-topped tables:

Formica kitchen

[image Picture Post/Getty, via The Guardian online] 

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[All print images, Memory Prints]

Whilst some 1950s fabric designs can be bought by the metre: try Glasgow’s Classic Textiles for a collection of original Lucienne Day and Robert Stewart designs  (recreated with the consent of the designers and/or their estate) sadly not all are currently in production.

But if you like any of these patterns above, it’s possible to order a paper print: the V&A’s prints are available online through Memory Prints, who reproduce these (and many more) onto high quality paper, ready for framing;  a simple way to bring a colourful, patterned piece of Mid Century artwork into your home.

To visit the V&A’s archive click here for more information.

Decorating a cottage hallway; some of the best patterned fabrics

Back to the house, I’m determined to bring in colour: and so transform the walls here from their current dull, battered, beige/magnolia existence:

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Susie Watson‘s deep, rich Ramsbury Red colours the walls of the adjacent room (I’ve mentioned it before here)  and with it in place, the hall colour had to follow. The random mix above includes some icy blues / stone-grey shades both from Susie’s paint chart (the column of neutrals on the left of the picture above) and Fired Earth, with the walls finally painted in Teresa’s Green from Farrow & BallAs the wonderful Ben Pentreath mused the other day, it’s become fashionable in some circles to diss Farrow & Ball paints for their coverage, but their colours continue to be interesting, adaptable and versatile in both dimly lit and bright spaces…

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Next task: choosing curtain fabric to hang in front of the draughty stable-style back door and to bring some pattern and softness to the room (the black and white floor tiles, here and in the room beyond, were inherited with the house). With London Design Week in full swing (now open to the public; catch it till this Friday 22 March, at Chelsea Harbour) it’s a great time to celebrate the best in fabric design from both British and International designers. I’m searching for an eclectic pattern in lively shades:

Interior designer Penny Morrison‘s luxurious fabrics include fabulous patterns and interesting colour mixes for a relaxed, country-living vibe; the designs start life in her studio on the Welsh borders:

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All swatch shots above: Penny Morrison

Another favourite is Rapture & Wright: Based in Gloucestershire, their motifs are contemporary and occasionally geometric in nature, and successfully designed to suit all sorts of interiors:

cocoa doves-husk sarafan-skye-8-linen charlbury-cloud-linen aurora-red-linen clouds-red mandalay-indigo cocoa-beach-butternut

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All images: Rapture & Wright 

All the fabrics shown above come in many other colourways, and of course there are other patterns too; take a look and let me know what you think.

Aria: contemporary, design-led homewares for 2013

A recent desire to revisit of one of my favourite parts of London, Islington: now an interiors shopper’s paradise, but for me, years ago was simply home: somewhere I lived and played as a small child. A little fun with filters on these images, and the shot of the Mini (shame it’s not an original model) plus the communal London square (empty here but filled with children when school is over) brings the memories back…. If I were to display these shots at home, they’d have to slot into a perspex photo cube: (Remember them? No? Click the link! Hilariously retro) they were perfect for helping your photos fade happily together….

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Nostalgia over, let’s go back with a bang to stylish 2013 with a focus on Aria. Set in an atmospheric hall in Islington, Aria has recently overhauled their website so you can shop their interesting mix of classic, contemporary, design-led homewares wherever you live.

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The high ceilings of Barnsbury Hall provide a stimulating backdrop for their mix of furniture, lighting, ceramics and tableware…..

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Expect to find design classics alongside work from young, super-talented up-and-coming designers: I I love these geometric patterned cushions by the highly regarded designer Tamasyn Gambell:

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Whilst their own Aria Selection range includes contemporary pieces, such as this Embrace coffee table / storage:

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As well as smaller pieces: this French-made Aria Selection china, with its simple dip-dye pattern and block colours, is right on trend:

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All images courtesy of Aria 

Do pay Aria a visit if you’re in the area, or visit their website, if like me, you don’t live round the corner….