German industrial trolleys, £210
Last week I went for supper at my friends’ house where I spotted a beautiful, robust and wonderfully worn out coffee table which was in fact just an old crate on wheels. But it was so solid and old and weathered, I couldn’t stop looking at it. I wondered all the way through supper how such a stylish number had ended up nestled between sound systems and granny’s cushions in their cosy, hotchpotch and rather boyish living room.
The answer: Original House, a furniture store founded in 2008 by Archie and Caddie Mackie which specialises original reclaimed pieces. Describing their style as “relaxed yet exciting” – as all good things should be – they scour Britian and beyond for one off pre-loved items and sell them online and through their showroom at Northleach, in the Cotswolds. Environmentally aware and disdainful of mass production, they know what they are doing and their pieces show it. Here are my current favourites:
1950s Tulip table by Eero Saarinen, from the QE2, £540
Portugese factory toolboxes, £110
Vintage Eastern European gym horses, £1200
Dutch enamelled industrial tables, £135
See more at OriginalHouse.co.uk
Cushion cover, £22
My friend Ariadna, who knows more than anyone when it comes to alternative therapies in London and beyond, recently pointed me in the direction of a wonderful wellbeing website and directory called The Baoli. Here, not only will you find a host of alternative and holistic therapies and practitioners, as well as a thriving online community of like-minded people offering up their latest alternative finds – you can also browse a carefully curated section devoted to living and the home. It is there that I recently discovered Helen Rawlinson’s sumptuous hand printed textiles – and they are worth shouting about.
Tea towels, £9 each
Large pendant shade, £69
Based in London, Helen screen prints all her textiles by hand in an old converted chocolate factory. She uses only water-based inks and unbleached organic cotton and has become best-known for her signature Moroccan tile print – simple, bright and boldly exotic. She also writes a lovely blog charting her life as a working mother and “how it all works”, and it is a breath of inspiration to mothers and creative minds alike.
Slim cushions, £28
Halloween trick or treat mini bag, £6.50
You can buy her collection at NotOnTheHighStreet.com, Etsy.com or through her blog.
As former director of iconic ceramcicists Bitossi, Aldo Londi designed these lovable Rimini Blu animals in the 1950s. They caught my eye the other day and my heart skipped a beat for each and every one – and there are over a dozen. With their dreamy blue hues and intricate textures they are hard not to love, nestled somewhere between cute Scandi folklore and high-end ceramic artefact. Prices range from £24.80 to £150, depending on your chosen animal, and they’re availabe to buy from SCP.com.
Design-fan-about-town Zoe extols the wistful virtues of a teeny tiny vase for autumn.
Shan Annabelle Valla
Two weekends ago, enjoyng the last of the summer, I visited the contemporary craft fair Origin in London’s Spitilfields market.
I was delighted, more than anything, by some little vases made especially for single flowers. Out of nowhere I was struck by the romantic image of picking wild flowers in the countryside and returning to a beauty table with a clothes brush, and a jewelry holder, and a tissue box, and other pretty little trinkets to rearrange. It struck me as something of a sadness that the days of the dressing table and all its feminine little treats are long gone – and summer maybe over but daydreams in the sunshine are not. So why not keep a little flower alive in its own delicate vase and brighten up days of cold and grey skies.
The vases which aided my imagination include: the beautifully paterned ceramic bud vases by Cynthia Vardhan; the elegant and minimalist Kishu vase by Maya Selway, who – by using cooper and silver – has appeared to create just the outline of a vase; the neat and geometrical metal vases from Niklas Ejve; and more porcelain delights from Shan Annabelle Valla.
Then I came across this image by Petra Collins from her album the female gaze, which reminded me of an eerie version of the look I had in mind.
Still – one of Cyhthia Vardhan or Shan Annabelle Valla’s vases wouldn’t go amiss.
Last week I passed by Burford garden centre in Oxfordshire and couldn’t resist stopping for a quick coffee and retail runaround. I have only ever been there briefly, running in and out on busy Saturday mornings for compost with my sister who lives nearby, so I relished the chance to wander round in peace and quiet and check out their autumnal offering. With beautiful floral displays and endless, thoughtful ways to accessorise and personalise your home and garden / allotment / window boxes etc, it is the place to go if you need a hit of colour and inspiration.
My favourite find was a lovely range of furniture made from reclaimed Indonesian fishing boats, reincarnating weathered wood and bright pastel colours into simple yet beautiful tables, benches and cabinets.
There is also a lovely selection of colourful Persian kilim furniture – a jumble of wild and eccentric tapestries, chairs and sofas that plunge you into a colourful, chaotic bazaar.
I also spotted some little wooden teepees for kids which look very cute, as well as a ready-to-go shepherd’s hut (for just over £12k) complete with lighting, electrics and bright floral interior.
But I myself was frugal and only bought some tumbling ivy to fill my long-empty hanging pots.
For more information and their online store visit Burford.co.uk.