Tag Archives: vintage

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….)

Sit in colour: the best kitchen chairs

All-white (walls, storage, work surfaces, and sometimes even floors too) as the backdrop to our kitchens currently appeals to many of us right now. Perhaps it’s because we crave calm and peace at home once we close the doors on the world outside? Or maybe it’s because white is simply a great canvas on which we can build up layers of colour, creating a unique space.

The trend for accenting kitchens with coloured chairs is gaining pace: whether the chairs are covetable originals (vintage Tolix or Eames are the most-desired)…

skona hem image, credited on findthedetails.com

sot sur via jan pinterest

Or, more easily obtained, and with their own charm, are traditional kitchen chairs, painted in shades either to coordinate or contrast, with the room’s decor:

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[Images Skona Hem, Livs Lyst, Pinterest] 

My dining chairs are simple, folding white wood and metal bistro chairs from Habitat: I started off with a pair for my first flat (they doubled up as garden seating) and I’ve never replaced them: just added to the collection as the numbers of people needing regular seats in my house has increased. As you know from previous posts, my current kitchen is a long way away from being entirely white…but here they are in my previous kitchen (aka playroom; office; dining room…):

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Now I rather hanker after French company Fermob’s bistro chairs: these all-metal equivalents cone in a rainbow of zingy shades:

Fermob bistro chairs via findthedetails.com

Whilst Ikea’s folding dining chair comes in this season’s must-have ’80s shades of grey, coral and a minty-green:
ikea chairs

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Tolix’s Model A chair is also from France, and a design classic: created in 1934, this metal chair is hugely popular right now. If you can’t source vintage ones like the lucky owners in the top image, then Graham & Green sell new models in a choice of colourways:

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Chairs with traditional shapes but in fashionable cool colourways also appeal: new for Spring Summer 2013 are the Talia wooden chairs from Habitat, in red or yellow:

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BHS Brighton chair -ú80, Hove coffee table -ú129, Reno pendant -ú35

… and let’s not forget the stylish Brighton chair by BHS, also new for spring/summer 2013 (mentioned before here, but deserving of another peek!).

Which designs would you buy? Let me know…

Just in: Chic, easy-to-live-with homewares at Loaf

Just in time to catch the first tempting rays of spring sunshine (at least round these parts, the sun is trying to make an appearance after months lost….) is the new collection from Loaf.

From sturdy painted kitchen tables to soft rugs and covetable, squishy cushions, materials are natural (wood, metal, linen) and colours span a gentle palette from subtle neutrals (greys, creams, off-whites) to modern pastels.

Here’s my pick of the best:

Loaf - Bobbin bed is priced from £645 for a double low-res

Loaf - Scrunch cushions £55  low-res

A modern take on a traditional bedframe above; whilst textiles are textured; colours soft: love both the bedroom rug and generously sized feather-filled linen cushions…

Loaf - Dolly storage trolley £295 low-res Loaf - High Wire storage unit £155 and Geronimo chair £145 low-res

Bathroom pieces include metal trolleys and locker-room storage: a gentle interpretation of the currently on-trend industrial, utilitarian look

Loaf - Pantry kitchen table priced from £495 low-res

There are plenty of dining tables, plus mixable dining chairs…

Loaf - Snow Compact kitchen table is priced at £395, Geronimo metal chair is priced at £145, Cafe au Lait chair £115 low-res

Loaf - Splay kitchen table priced from £895 low-res

This delicately decorated bedlinen below is a favourite: slightly folksy, slightly Scandi, but yet (phew!) not twee: the design successfully captures the look of vintage linen:

Loaf - Saint Irene bed linen priced from £15 low-res.2

All images from Loaf

Predominantly an online business, Loaf started out in 2008 with a capsule collection of well made, well priced, chic beds and have taken it from there. Take some time out to browse their site for the full range and let me know what you think; some pieces are already there whilst others will be in stock shortly.

Lives of the (usually) rich and (sometimes) famous….

If you’re bored at your desk and fancy a bit of household snooping that will leave you with raised eyebrows (and possibly the need to breathe deeply after viewing), then check out the wonderful and yes, sometimes weird, homes of the designers profiled on the admirable The Coveteur:

Manolos: just line them up on your geometric black/white stairs, after you’ve let your three year old loose with a sponge roller and some pink paint: no one will notice this decorating faux pas!

all images courtesy of The Coveteur 

It’s impossible not to admire their unique styling methods (shoes on china? shoes on stairs?) but the amount of STUFF these (usually) successful designers own frequently makes me want to lie down in a nice, empty, white room…. What do you think?

 

To be square, or not to be square? Creating pattern with tiles

All these posts about pattern have got me thinking about new tiles, especially for the kitchen splashback, which is currently fashioned from emerald green tiles (surprisingly, the Colour for 2013 according to Pantone), including some embossed with herbs and vegetables…..

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Fired Earth are the go-to place for decorative tiles that look fresh and modern, yet would also suit a rural kitchen:

I’m thinking of creating pattern in this space by choosing plain tiles with unusual shapes, such as these Marrakech Bahia tiles. Their muted, cool tones also appeal:

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Above: Marrakech Bahia tiles, suitable for both walls and floors, Fired Earth

Or these fan shaped Paris Cabaret tiles, in this mix of blues, make for a fabulous wall pattern:

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Above: handmade and hand decorated terracotta Paris Cabaret tiles, suitable for both walls and floors, Fired Earth

For traditional square tiles, this sophisticated blue and white Marrakech design comes in a choice of subtle patterns which look great mixed and matched: a fab way to introduce pattern without looking too unconventional….

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Above: Marrakech hand-decorated tiles, Fired Earth

Whilst these highly patterned Andalucia tiles will transport any bathroom wall to sunny Spain….

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Andalucian tiles in Jerez, Fired Earth 

The other tile shop that’s a must-visit is The Reclaimed Tile Company, who source reclaimed vintage tiles and antique terracotta from across Europe. Their beautiful, colourful ‘Tapas’ tile combinations are perfect for those of us who can’t decide on one pattern. A bathroom or sun room floor would look heavenly tiled in one of their mixes:

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For those who prefer a more organised approach to tiling, they have hundreds of reclaimed patterned tiles to choose from.

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All tiles above from The Reclaimed Tile Company

And of course, there’s always scope for simple, chic white, as seen in these Fired Earth washrooms….

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Which do you prefer? Let me know….

Furniture with a hint of summer, from our friends in Australia


Researching for a feature on garden furniture for a June issue (this is why I can never remember what month it is) I stumbled across a new brand called Bowerhouse: Australian-based, I love the quirky yet covetable rattan furniture, delicate tableware and colourful, patterned, eclectic cushions…

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cushions tabletop

Looking closely at the credits, I discovered the images were styled by an old friend and colleague, Jo Carmichael. I got in touch: we both started out together shooting features on (long gone) BBC’s Changing Rooms with designers Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Linda Barker, amongst others….

Now based in Australia, talented Jo has set up a styling agency, working with clients such as Bowerhouse to bring her signature fresh, relaxed look to the products she’s working with. You can find out more about her work here.

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These drum rattan stools are some of the nicest of the many I’ve seen recently: am I the only one to notice stools and poufs are everywhere right now?

I’m a newcomer to Pinterest but I have plans to create a board devoted to low stools and comfy poufs there, alongside posting here too. 

Bowerhouse mainly ships within Australia to Australian addresses but they can ship some of their products internationally: they’re happy to chat so do get in touch.

All images courtesy of Bowerhouse; styling Jo Carmichael, photography Jody D’Arcy 

Re-home: vintage, antique and retro shopping

A couple of indulgent hours yesterday, wandering the stalls at Ardingly antiques fair in West Sussex: amazed at the curios; vintage, retro and upcycled pieces; classic well-cared-for antiques, and weird ‘rather your house than mine’ items for sale.

From indoor stands to outdoor stalls, I found French linens and 19th century spice jars (covetable, see first image); topless mannequins (less covetable for me, but possibly someone else’s cup of tea); vintage buttons, glistening silver knifes, forks and spoons; work-worn garden rakes and hoes alongside tiny glass vials; thumbed-through paperbacks and decorative, detailed metal wall lights….

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linen napkins

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From the metre rules to the Charles & Di mugs (..who knew there were Fergie & Andrew teacups still in circulation?!), there was something for everyone….

….and it made me conscious of just how much STUFF there is out there.

I’m constantly aware of how huge the interiors industry is via my day job, and on these pages I hope simply to flag up a few gems I’ve discovered along the way: but sometimes, a trip to a fair such as Ardingly is a great way to remind ourselves that really, everything we need (and much we do not) is already in existence, ready to be re-used and re-loved.

So thumbs up to all those stallholders, who braved the mud and the January chill, driving from as far afield as Wales and France, to rig up their stands and display their finds: I’m looking forward to the next fair already….

You can find out more about the next fairs at Ardingly and at other venues around the UK here

Coincidentally, BBC’s Bargain Hunt was filming:

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…which added a little frisson of excitement to the morning, for everyone…. who knows what they discovered?