Discover beautiful fair trade gifts and more; plus an exclusive discount for Find the Details readers…

Shopping for gifts can be hit and miss, especially if you like to know the source of your finds: sometimes I feel the buyers have all ended up at the same stall at the same trade fair. So for gifts that come far from the high street, yet with traceability, don’t miss Mimosa Street. Owner Francesca sources a mix of beautifully made, fair trade furniture, home accessories and jewellery that you won’t find elsewhere. Perfect for gifts (and for yourself!) here are my favourites from the spring collection:

Mimosa Street via findthedetails.com

Arambol bench, made from mango wood with a hand-woven jute seat, above: benches are perfect for hallways, of course, but I’d also love this as part of a simple, rustic bedroom scheme. Mimosa Street vase via findthedetails.com

This delicate vase can also be suspended – I’m hoping to hang several together in a group…..

Mimosa Street Vashti dish via findthedetails.com… whilst these intricate metal Vashti trays make perfect drinks mats or unobtrusive candle holders.

Mimosa Street print via findthedetails.com

Decorate walls with this colourful stork print….

Mimosa Street safari frame, via findthedetails.com

…and capture memories in the pretty Sari frames, above, or store them away in the Polly trinket box, below.

Mimosa Street box via findthedetails.com

[All images, Mimosa Street] 

There are many more beautiful, interesting products online so please do click through to Mimosa Street to see more and to take advantage of the exclusive 15% discount for Find the Details readers: add code DETAILS15 (no minimum spend, code valid until 8 May 2014). I can’t wait. Happy shopping! Jx

For lovers of craft, indigo and textiles: an exhibition

If these words inspire you: textiles, crafts, traditional and inherited skills, and totally dreamy indigo blues patched over and over: then don’t miss the Boro: Threads of Life exhibition at the East Wing Galleries of Somerset House this April.

Focusing on the ancient Japanese textile tradition of Boro, which means ‘rags’ in English, the textile exhibits on display include bedcovers and clothes made by the poor, rural population of Japan who pieced and patched old pieces of discarded clothing onto and into new items, with fisherman’s jackets morphing into futon covers and on and on, as the pieces were passed down through families and generations.

With their beautiful colours, these humble works of art prompt the viewers to consider the act of ‘mending’: could it be considered an old-fashioned skill? Or, as we continue to embrace traditional crafts at home; and are more aware of the damage caused by excess waste (and/or simply feel the pinch financially) is it becoming more current to embrace repairs, so we can keep our possessions for longer?

Boro exhibition at Somerset House via findthedetails.com

Boro: Threads of Life, 2-26 April, free admission, Somerset House.

Located just off The Strand, Somerset House has to be one of the most hard-working arts and cultural venues in London; changing with the seasons, you’ll discover it hosting al fresco music gigs and giant cinema screens; a multitude of fountains; the latests frocks (it’s home to London Fashion Week) or a beautiful ice rink….

From this….

Somerset House via findthedetails.com somerset house via findthedetails.com

To this….:

Somerset house via findthedetails.com Somerset House via findthedetails.comfindthedetails.com

Somerset House via findthedetails.com

[images, Somerset House

The line up of their Summer Series of gigs (10-20 July) has just been announced: tickets go on sale this Friday 21 March, with the cinema screenings to follow later in the summer. To to learn more about the architecture, join their free guided tours (every Thursday and Saturday), taking in the Tudor and Georgian history to the modern-day, including the new Miles Stair created by Eva Jiricna. Enjoy! Jx

Just in: Arkiv wallpapers by Sandberg

Combining both the best of both old and new design processes, Swedish wallpaper design house Sandberg has drawn on a wealth of archive material – both their own and sourced from Sweden’s rich architectural and design history – to create their first digital wallpaper collection.

Launching this spring, Arkiv includes fifteen different highly detailed patterns: pictorial designs of trees and chairs; buildings (in particular the Nordic Museum) and architectural elements such as doors; as well as maps, Japanese woodblock prints (highly popular in 19th Century Sweden), and digitally reproduced images of popular Sandberg designs and sketches:

Sandberg Arkiv papers via findthedetails.com Sandberg Arkiv papers via findthedetails.com Sandberg Arkiv papers via findthedetails.comFrom the top: Justus, Gunnars Stolar, and Nordiska Museet from Chaper One: Architecture, Arkiv collection, Sandberg

Sandberg Arkiv papers via findthedetails.com Sandberg Arkiv papers via findthedetails.com Sandberg Arkiv papers via findthedetails.com

From the top: Georg, Tang and Botanica from Chapter Four, Sandberg Archive, from the Arkiv collection by Sandberg

Sandberg Arkiv papers via findthedetails.com

Sandberg Arkiv papers via findthedetails.com

Top: Hiroshiges Regnskyar and below, Eishi, from Chapter Three: Japanese Woodblock prints, from the Arkiv Collection by Sandberg

My favourites are these two, with their very different but equally calming tree motifs:

Sandberg Arkiv papers via findthedetails.com

Sandberg Arkiv papers via findthedetails.com

Top: Carlsbergs Trad, and below: Eden, both from the Arkiv Collection by Sandberg

[All images, Sandberg]

The Arkiv collection launches this spring; visit Sandberg for detailed global stockists information.

Wish List: Grey china

For this Friday’s wish list I’m coveting tableware and decorative china in soft shades of grey: possibly to match the endless skies as here in the UK we limp, damply and soggily, into the middle of February – and possibly also because we can’t get enough of this versatile shade in our homes right now. These are my favourites:

Baileys stone bottles via findthedetails.com

Above: French stoneware bottles, from Baileys, approximately 30cms tall: fantastic in a group as shown… and below, mini tapas bowls and oval platters, from Pale & Interesting:

China by Pale & Interesting via findthedetails.com

Below, this simple grey china with its ripple pattern and chunky, generous shapes, is part of the SS14 collection at Sainsbury’s:

sainsburys china, via findthedetails.com

 A perfect salad bowl at Rigby & Mac, below:
Rigby & Mac bowl via findthedetails.com

…alongside more patterned, decorative grey accessories: this floral tableware is made from hand-painted metal, also in store and online at Rigby & Mac:

Rigby & Mac tableware via findthedetails.com

And I love these diminutive dipped terracotta bowls; made in India as part of a fair trade initiative, you’ll find them amongst other delightful products, including a similar mug and jug, at Decorator’s Notebook:

Decorator's Notebook terracotta bowls via findthedetails.com

Click through the images and links to take you to that product’s retailer… happy shopping! Jx

Revealed: Designs of the Year 2014: Design Museum / Makoko Floating School

Today The Design Museum  announced their nominations for the Design of the Year 2014 and one of the most innovative architecture designs has to be the Makoko Floating School, which is located in a lagoon in the heart of the city of Lagos, Nigeria. Designed by architecture / design practice NLE in collaboration with Makoko Waterfront Community (the area is described as being similar in functionality, if not looks, to Venice), the floating structure takes into account the community’s needs (for a school and social space) and the physical demands of their environment: increasing tropical rainfall and an increasingly urbanised population.

Lead by architect Kunle Adeyemi, this prototype building is sustainable, ecological and alternative: two classrooms above and a play area below ensure the available space is used thoughtfully:

find the details / makoko floating school / NLE find the details / makoko floating school / NLE find the details / Makoko floating school / NLE architecture

find the details / Makoko floating school / courtesy NLE architecturefind the details / Makoko floating school, courtesy NLE

[images courtesy of NLE, Iwan Baan]

Designs of the Year brings together 76 cutting edge, innovative and talented creations, with the best in world-wide architecture, fashion, product and digital design and more on show at the exhibition, which opens on 26 March (until 25 August) at the Design Museum on Shad Thames, London SE1. Head to the show and whilst there, vote for your favourite design; but if you can’t make it in person, the online Social Vote platform gives you a chance to have your say. On Twitter, follow #designsoftheyear and @designmuseum for current conversations.

Wish List: Marimekko Weather Diary china

For this Friday’s wish list I’m dreaming of Marimekko’s Oiva Saapaivakirja (Weather Diary) china. Created as part of their Autumn 2013 collection, the Marimekko design team were influenced by autumnal weather patterns. The resulting china patterns fuse intense colour mixes on to grey ceramic backgrounds, conjuring up the atmosphere outdoors during these stormy, chilly, sometimes sun-filled yet low-lit winter months. The blue and yellow/grey/blue designs are my favourites:

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salaattivati_46018_1_2

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WD_mm_image

Marimekko are justifiably proud of their design archive, and many classic designs are either still in production or used to inform new launches. This year they are happily celebrating the 50th anniversary of Unikko, Maija Isola’s instantly recognisable, simple and iconic floral pattern created in 1964. Join the celebrations with the fabric by the metre and accessories in this striking colourway:

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[All images, Skandium]

These and more Marimekko products are available in the UK online and in store at Skandium; and from February at the Republic of Fritz Hansen store in London, W1.

Make 2014 a year of timeless colour: beautiful paints from Belgium

New year: which means new must-have decorating colours for 2014 from those in the know: for Pantone, it’s a slightly stomach-turning shade of purple/pink they’ve named Radiant Orchid (for me, it’s not a shade that suits the cold light in northern hemisphere homes – though down in New Mexico, Marie from Breaking Bad would’ve been mad for it). For Dulux, 2014’s colour is a much more livable-with shade of Teal, whilst Farrow & Ball suggest a rather lovely deep blue balanced by shades of stone, warm grey and apple green.

If you’re in the mood for some more paint colours that will appeal for far longer than 2014, do take a look at the inspirational Emery & Cie shades, which are rich, timeless and striking:

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mate-ex-interieurs-18 mate-ex-interieurs-19 mate-ex-interieurs-16 mate-ex-interieurs-04-01

mate-ex-interieurs-22[all images and paint shades, Emery & Cie]

Based in Belgian, Emery & Cie produce their ultra-matt acrylic emulsion and gloss paints in these atmospheric, strong shades, all designed to make your walls sing. Take your pick from their handpainted paint charts:

Test-Nuancier-Mat-page-5r Test-Nuancier-Mat-Page-3r

….which and come either as the pure colour (two above), or as a shade chart depicting each pure colour diluted with a specific quantity of white (two below):

Shades -3-Bleus shades Verts-Bleus

Beautiful: the perfect choice for classic paint colours. Visit Emery & Cie for more info and to discover the rest of their collection (exquisite wallpapers, tiles, ironmongery, furniture, lighting………all for the wish list!). Enjoy! Jx

Sneak peak: John Lewis Spring/Summer 2014

Take a break from silver, glitter and sparkles this pre-Christmas week and mellow out with a sneak look at the beautiful press shots from John Lewis’s spring summer collection for 2014. There are two key trends; Expressions, which combines materials (wood, upholstery fabrics, wallpapers) in warm, detailed and textured neutral shades with others (glass, metallics, soft furnishings) chosen in flashes of contrasting brights: orange-hued copper (copper is definitely having its moment), citrus yellow; warm rose; rich purples and blues:
01 John Lewis Heming Sofa, Expressions Cushions (1)

The Brushstrokes wallpaper is a particular favourite; new for this season; shown here in Smoke colourway, the pattern is also available as an upholstery/drape fabric. The painterly Expressions framed prints are part of the new range; styled here alongside Content by Conran side tables (they come as a nest of three for £199), and a Heming sofa in Porto Grey.

05 Why Wood Dining Table, and Chairs

Why Wood circular table, £399; dining chairs, £125 each

02 Expressions Tall Vase, Hurricane Lamp

Accessories include: Rose gold hurricane lamp, £12; pink hydrangea stems £30 for 3; purple and blue tall glass vase, £35; copper bowl, £5, all John Lewis

Also new in store this spring is the Croft collection: think upmarket utilitarian; traditional crafts; nostalgia (but without any twee-ness…) in a 21st-century-pleasing palette of soft neutrals, blues and greys:

17 John Lewis Croft Cushions, and Throws

Tiny check stripe cushions £20 each; basket weave throw, £70; reversible cashmere throw, £110; natural ribbed knit throw, £80; all from the Croft collection by John Lewis

16 John Lewis Perth Chair, Sparrows Cushion

Perth armchair, £900; Sparrows cushion, £28; cream bottle vase, £35; Charm Lily rug, £125, all John Lewis

12 John Lewis Croft Tableware

Croft tableware: jug, £22; tumblers, £4.50 each; dinner plates, £10 each, ceramic ivory cutlery, from £3.50 a piece, all John Lewis

14 John Lewis Croft Utility-1

And there are plenty of products to make your utility area scrub up nicely: whitewash wooden crate, £35; dustpan and brush set, £29; platters, from £15; storage jars, from £6; dolly pegs, glass brushes, glass cloths and jug, all from John Lewis

18 John Lewis Joanie Butterfly Bedlinen, Basket Weave Throw

Natural Joanie butterfly double duvet cover, £80; tiny check striped cushions, £20; light grey basket weave throw, £70, all John Lewis.  

All photographs, John Lewis

The products will be in store in the New Year; till then Happy Holidays, Jx

Christmas shopping sorted in clicks: the best websites, Pt1: Cox & Cox

If, like me, you have to shop for Christmas gifts with your nose near a screen rather than your feet moving on concrete, then we’re lucky – we can make the most of the best online retailers who’ve done the hard work for us. These are the sites that have buyers/owners with eagle eyes that disregard piles of mass-produced tat at trade fairs, instead winkling out the unusual, covetable and interesting, sourcing products made with care and design flair, perfect for giving and receiving. Some have physical shops and others, such as Cox & Cox, are purely online.

One of my favourite places to shop, Cox & Cox offer beautiful homewares, furniture and decorative details that, thankfully, can be used on a daily basis. Searching for gifts that are perfect for home-lovers, you’ll find decorative details that lend a touch of understated luxury to rooms, and at Christmas, many gifts can be put to work, adding festive glamour to the Christmas table and surrounding room: 

Candle angel wings, £12.50, Cox & Cox 

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Aged Linnea candelabra, £125, Cox & Cox 

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Stone-effect angel wings, £125; set of three aged zinc planters, £60, all Cox & Cox 

Gifts for gardeners and cooks are covered; such as the the zinc planters, above, and the cream tableware, below, which looks almost too good for everyday use:

Casa earthenware, from £45 for a set of four side plates, Cox & Cox 

And whilst this metal console table is probably too large for a gift, I’d be delighted if someone were to give it to me… alongside the rug, lanterns, mirror…..

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Antiqued metal console table, £180; frames mirror, £125; filigree tree hurrincane lanterns, £40 for two, all other products, all Cox & Cox 

If you love making your gifts look as good on the outside as they are on the inside, then don’t miss their wrapping paper, ribbons and crafty details to customise your wrapping:

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Wrapping paper, ribbons and snowflake punch, all from a selection at Cox & Cox

All these products and many more can be found online at Cox & Cox; let me know your favourites, and happy shopping! Jx

Cool Nordic tones: accessories for autumn/winter

Once the nights start to draw in, the autumn air and low light seem to influence my colour choices, and so I find I increasingly turn towards cool neutrals when decorating. Nordic House capture the essence of Scandinvian style with their carefully chosen homewares; their new Autumn/Winter collection is filled with thoughtful, sometimes quirky pieces that you won’t see everywhere else. Lanterns range from grey-toned wooden (where you’d expect metal) and oversized (where you’d assume small) glass-faceted hurricanes; textiles are super soft in both tone and to the touch, whether fluffy lambswool or shimmering velvet; whilst decorative details are intricate: these wooden panels (there are three to choose from) will turn any wall into a work of art: 55507lb213

54001

lb298

lb265

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[all images, Nordic House

… and it wouldn’t be winter without a splash of red, that most Scandinavian of bright shades. These and their extensive (shh) Christmas accessories are all online now, so do take a peek and let me know which you’ve loved best….