Month: June, 2010

GANT homeware: celebrate Independece Day in style

gant homeware

gant homeware

As Independence Day looms, all-out Americana is cropping up with abandon. Now, fans of laid back East Coast style will be over the moon to know that wholesome US label GANT have just launched their new interiors range.

Evocative of late-nineties Ralph Lauren homeware but with more stars and less stripes, it perfectly encapsulates everything we love about good ol’ laid back American style.

Visit GantUK for stockists and info.

Folksy love-in: Pin cushions with a difference

At a certain point in a woman’s life, the importance of a pin cushion becomes clear. For some it is aged forty plus, lovingly darning their husband’s socks; for others it is earlier, when they realise that sewing their socks themselves is not such a bad idea after all.

This can  either be seen as the beginning of the end, or a whole new horizon involving fun novelty accessories which only add to the charm of your home.

An afternoon browsing on Folksy.com for fun handmade pin cushions only proves this last point.

Top row: cactus pin cushion, £2.50; donut pin cushion, £3.50; mouse pin cushion, £12.50. Middle row: house pin cushion, £5; flower pin cushion, £10; enter your pin here cushion, £5. Bottom row: cupcake pin cushion, £11; cupcake sketch pin cushion, £3.50; octopus pin cushion, £6.

Funky trunks

Since bounding out of school aged 18 with my tattered old navy trunk in tow, I have not given it a second’s thought. Until last week.

Wandering down London’s Pimlico Road last week – a treat in and of itself for any design fan – I spied the most elegant pile of vintage Louis Vuitton trunks heaped one atop the other, in faded leopardskin; understated, not garish in a WAG way, but indicative of true old-school glamour, from the days when the American Apparel weekend bag wouldn’t even make it past steerage.

I was so consumed by desire I decided to hunt around for some good trunk images and figure out the best way to incorporate one into my new flat.

In my opinion, the older and tattier the better. A good trunk is made for circling the globe and that is exactly what it should have done by the time it ends up on your floor. Embrace the dents and scuffs and wear and tear. And for that extra sparkle, line yours with your favourite fabric or wallpaper and smile every time you open it.

Images via: Decorpad; birchbarksoap and ihearthome on Flickr; Country Living; SimplyNaturalDecor

Picnicking goes eco

Calling all lazy picnickers: you probably won’t want to throw away this cute rustic picnic set for from Bob by Post (a steal at £8.95), but should you wish to drunkenly dump it you can do so with a clear conscience. It is 100% biodegradable.

biodegradable picnic set bob by post


People we’re loving: bluebellgray

bluebell gray hand painted silk

bluebell gray hand painted silk

If you haven’t yet heard of Fi Douglas’s company bluebellgray, you soon will. Bringing a whole new burst of colour and charm to the Scottish design scene, they specialise in hand-painted cushions and throws along with occasional one off bespoke items and original paintings – all of them flower-powered up to the max. Think rambling wildflower meadows, pert sunflowers and luscious roses and you get the idea.

Each design is initially painted in vibrant watercolour and then printed onto fine cotton or linen. Fi’s state of the art printing techniques mean that every brush stroke and drop of colour are replicated on to the fabric, so essentially you can sit / sleep / party / laugh / cry / do exactly what you please on an original, limited edition painting.

Check them out for yourselves at buebellgray.co.uk. The magnolia lampshade is too good to be true.

Food trees at Smarin Design

Unleash your inner Eve with Stéphanie Marin’s Mangier trees. They’re causing quite a stir.

Images via bb blog

Peep show: Trasierra, Andalusia

Last week I was lucky enough to join lovely Charlotte Scott, British interior designer turned indomitable hotel owner , and her fun-loving progeny in their dreamy family home -cum-hotel, Trasierra, perched in the Sierra Norte just over an hour’s drive from Seville.

The house is breathtaking, and the result of years and years of love and hard work from Charlottle and her family, who have slowly but surely transformed it from a crumbling ruin with no running water into a dream world of rustic mayhem and unbridled natural beauty… with swallows nesting in the old chapel and Luna the donkey plodding happily around in the sprawling grounds. So powerful is the charm of the place that an inexplicable number of stray dogs turn up at the gates each year to stake their very own spot.

Nestled in a rambling 350 acre estate, parts of the house date back to the 15th and 16th centuries, while the rest has slowly been built up along the years. Until 150 years ago it was a winegrowing estate, and then, until the mid forties,  a thriving olive estate – evidence of which is still present today in the giant olive pots dotted haphazardly around.

When the Scotts stumbled upon it in the seventies it had been abandoned for forty years and they gradually restored it and installed electricity, phone lines and the rest. Each year, a new room or nook or cranny has been added or excavated and it continues to grow, organically, into the unkempt Andalusian surroundings.

The interior style is a unique fusion of English tradition and unfussy Mediterranean charm. Warm cornflower blues, in their masses, stand out against great whitewashed walls, punctuated with hand woven baskets, huge terracotta bowls brimming with lemons and other eclectic finds from around the world. Travelling often to India, Charlotte has a weakness for colourful textiles and antique trinkets… One that I cannot help sharing.

It’s hard to pick one, and the converted chapel above is a hot contender, but my favourite room has to be the bedroom below, whose hallway is bathed in an electric blue light from a pane of coloured glass in the ceiling. Strewn with old animal hides and every shade of blue imaginable, it is another world entirely.

Trasierra occupies a truly unique space somewhere between cosy family house and luxurious boutique hotel – and anyone who can should go and check it out. It is brimming with bohemian character and charm, and nature is waiting at every turn. Factor in yoga and hill walking with Charlotte’s youngest daughter Amber and dangerously good food by her sister Gioconda, and you may never come back.

Animal egg cosies

While I am against egg cosies in principal, these speak for themselves:

animal egg cosiesanimal egg cosies

Animal egg cosies, £1.95 each, dotcomgiftshop

Peep show: The Colour Purple

Papal, regal, seductive, exotic, noble, electric, psychedelic, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk…

Whatever it means to you, you have to dig purple.

People we’re loving: Lee Broom

lee broom chair

Birmingham-born designer Lee Broom proved a talented creative from a young age – starting off as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company at the age of just 16. By 17, he had won a design contest run by the Clothes Show, off the back of which he spent 6 months interning with Vivienne Westwood in Paris. But during a fashion degree at Central St Martins he dabbled in venue styling and today his unique electric furnishings have become design icons.

And they make my heart sing, with that same modern irreverence that keeps me coming back to anything by Jimmie Martin.

Making ultra-contemporary silhouettes out of dusty vintage artefacts, Broom’s pieces nestle somewhere between seedy neon garishness and decadent nostalgia.  “Making an impact is second nature to me”, he professes, describing his work as a “desire to be more creative with furniture than is normally possible in the bar industry… ”  And it seems he is doing a pretty good job. Roman Abramovich was so blown away by his designs for Clapham’s lost Club and Chelsea’s Valmont Club (pictured below), he commissioned him to do up his box at Chelsea.

If you like what you see, check out his website here.