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Publik i

If you are after a lush piece of Mid Century furniture for your home, can I point you in the direction of Publik i based in their very lovely and recently transformed store in Beckenham, although of course they are online too. Publik i owner and founder Gary Dennie is about as passionate about great design as it is possible to be, and what I particularly liked is the way he mixes a love of the character and heritage of a vintage piece with a resolve to bring it up to date enough to make it look great in today’s interiors. Several of the upholstered pieces he had in his studio had been transformed by his fabric choices (it helps he has a great eye for colour) and he works with really good craftsmen to restore the furniture – they were there when I visited so I know!

 

There are a number of items on the website but if you are on the look out for something in particular, give Gary a ring as he can source items. Better still, drop into the shop the next time you are in the area – there is a lot of stock in the shop and it is an ever changing feast. www.publiki.co.uk 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hodsoll McKenzie is one of my favourite fabric companies, every collection is filled with glorious colours, embroidery work, textures and of course wonderful designs. So it comes as no surprise that their new collection Discovery is just as lovely as ever. The collection has new design techniques and ideas that introduce “an unexpected twist to natural fibres and inventive interpretations of classic and ethnic designs”. Discovery is full of soft and sumptuous designs that have the perfect combination colour, subtly and romance. So take a look at the latest instalment from Hodsoll McKenzie.

‘Cushions in Turlington fabric’ from Hodsoll McKenzie

The beautiful Turlington fabric has a Tuscan antique sensibility to it. The faded glamour of the pattern gives off a relaxed and calming presence; you’d be able to have this look in a contemporary bohemian setting and have it feel just as at home as in an older, more traditionally styled home.

The embroidery on this Gabon fabric designs is absolutely stunning, creating patterns that take their influence from African design. The strong sharpness of the indigo background allows the pattern to pop, while still keeping a natural and organic feel to the cloth.

‘Bedspread in Gabon Embroidery fabric’ from Hodsoll McKenzie

The drapery in this next photo is a lovely fabric that hangs beautiful. The Quincey Floral pattern was taken from an 18th century design, so it perfect if you want to create an inviting, classic setting in your home. Also featured is the Donnelley fabric on the central cushions. A rustic design taken from the Scottish Highlands; which could be a fun alternative to tartan if you want to evoke that heritage feel in a different way.

‘Drapery in Quincey Floral fabric and central cushions in Donnelley fabric’ from Hodsoll McKenzie

The upholstery on this chair is the Malindi fabric, named after the city in Kenya. The intricate pattern has both a softness and a richness to it, making it feel like it would be comfortable both in your home and a hotel.

‘Chairs upholstered in Malindi fabric’ from Hodsoll McKenzie

If you’re more inclined to opt for a plain upholstery fabric, something textural like this Collins design from the collection is a gorgeous way to have the best of both worlds. There’s an interesting effect on the fabric that’ll give your sofa a bit of life. Also in the image is the Chloe braid on the cushions, which is a great idea to dress up the piece in a glamorous way.

‘Cushions embroidered with Chloe Braid and Sofa upholstered in Collins fabric’ from Hodsoll McKenzie

‘Chair upholstered in Caswell Velvet fabric’ from Hodsoll McKenzie

I absolutely love this velvety patterned fabric, it has a distinct Renaissance feel to it, whilst the use of the denim colour gives it a modern feel as well. It looks beautiful on chair above, but I can also see this looking lovely on a headboard, really creating a statement in a room.

‘Sofa upholstered in Serengenti Stripe fabric, central cushion covered in Gabon Embroidery fabric and center back cushions covered in Zambezi fabric’ from Hodsoll McKenzie

The stripe of the Serengeti fabric gives the sofa above a beautifully elegant feel. It’s a perfect example of how you can have a patterned sofa and still have a collection of vibrant and busy cushions on top of it without them clashing. The centre cushion shows the Gabon fabric in a smaller way, for a more intimate approach to the pattern; great for using in any room of the house.

It’s always lovely to see a collection like this where you can imagine using every fabric, from stripes to patterns to plains, there’s a whole array of exciting pieces to choose from, the only trouble now is picking a favourite.

Using spots and stripes in your home may not be something you automatically gel with, I certainly didn’t; in fact spots and stripes had to work pretty hard to win me over. When it comes to spots and stripes it’s all about finding the right balance; for spots I think it’s about avoiding that twee and cutesy look, and for stripes finding a style that isn’t too traditional or beachy. I’ve found a few ideas of stylish spots and stripes that can be a great way to give a home a touch of the fun, patterned effect.

‘Fitzroy Black Stair Runner’ from Roger Oates

For me, when I think of stripes in the home I immediately think of Roger Oates and their fabulous stair runners, which in fact was major part in changing my opinion on stripes. The Fitzroy runner is smart, sleek and contemporary. The stripes bounce of the stark white stairs and walls, giving it a really punchy effect, it’s a great feature to see when you first walk in the door, showing off a relaxed but sophisticated sense of style.

If you don’t want to use stripes in such a dramatic way, this mirror from Barker & Stonehouse is an interesting twist on the pattern. With strips of mirror formed into one large piece, it gives a subtly to the motif, whilst still creating an intriguing design.

‘Cattelan Striped Mirror’ from Barker & Stonehouse

I love this spotted pattern by Marimekko, the dots squished together on rows is a simple design, but really gives the tableware a fun character, the jug is a great one-off piece in the collection to buy if you want a stand out item on your table.

‘Oiva Siirolapuutarha Pitcher’ from Marimekko

These Louis Poulsen pendants bring just the right amount of a coastal vibe, with a shell-like shape and beach tones, but with a sophisticated and contemporary design. They’ll hang elegantly alone or in a group, the three colourways could be mixed over a kitchen island unit for an eye-catching feature.

‘Cirque Pendant Lights’ from Louis Poulsen

Although polka dots in interiors aren’t something I would necessarily put in an interior, I’m a little smitten with the Polka Square wallpaper design by Farrow & Ball. It’s a delicate style that would look really sweet in a kid’s room or hallway.

‘Polka Square Wallpaper’ from Farrow & Ball

Sticking to wallpapers, this wavy stripe by Elitis, is a modern and fun way to make a strong statement in a room. Its design can hold its own style wise, but would work as a backdrop for your furniture as well.

‘Parure Memoires Wallpaper’ from Elitis

Margo Selby always has some beautiful designs, with just the right amount of colour, texture and retro design to give you a fresh look. I love this throw with its geometric circular pattern, it would make a great accent of colour in a living room.

‘Galeano Throw with Textured Velvet’ from Margo Selby

For a smaller addition of a few spots to your home, this little ceramic salt pot has an abstract spotted design that’ll look great on your dining room table, or next to your hob among the spices.

‘Selborne Pottery Blue Spot Salt Pot’ from Trouva

To keep stripes to more of a traditional form, William Yeoward has some classic designs. This stool has beautiful pink and cream stripes, and the curved wooden legs and the bouncing seat pads gives it an extra spark of personality.

‘Triple Elka Stool’ from William Yeoward

Finally, I had to pop in this sweet cushion from Houseology, the colourful stripes have begun to run like water colours, giving the cushion a softer look. A quick and easy way to add stripes while giving a chair a splash of colour.

‘Bluebell Gray Lomond Cushion’ from Houseology

A spot and a stripe here and there in your home is a great way to add character and break up a space, while offering an alternative pattern and design to a room to keep it looking fresh. Whether you want to stick to traditional styles, or test out some more contemporary looks, there are all sorts of ways to have a little fun with a few spots and stripes.

You may have thought that wicker and rattan had their heyday a long time ago, but we think they’re just getting started. The materials are appearing more and more in homeware designs and are frankly rather quite stylish. If you’re a fan of wicker or rattan but are unsure of how to incorporate them into your home, check out a few of these ideas.

‘Nogu Eye-shaped Vintage Rattan Mirror’ from La Redoute

This interestingly shaped mirror frame from La Redoute is a great way to include rattan in a bohemian themed room. There’s a sense of relaxed seventies décor to the piece, and would be a fun and eye-catching piece to have in a bedroom or living room.

A popular way to including wicker or rattan into a design scheme these days is with lighting, which can create a warm and inviting space. The use of Rattan in these shades from Nkuku allows the shape of the lighting to do all the talking, the perfect way to give a seating area a cosy feel.

‘Beru Rattan Lampshades’ from Nkuku

The form of this wicker pendant light from Maison du Monde, shows how the material can be incorporated into a modern, mid-century style home, plus it adds extra drama to a room with its intriguing shadow.

‘Jade Green Wicker Pendant’ from Maison du Monde

To use wicker in a more conventional way, but with a contemporary edge, I love these baskets from Luke Arthur Wells. The space between the reeds gives them a modern feel over a traditionally woven one, perfect for storing bits and bobs in.

‘Basket Nest Set’ from Luke Arthur Wells

I love the aqua frame that’s been added to this rattan bench from Oliver Bonas, giving the design a modern and fresh feel. With the addition of a few cushions it’s a great way to reinvent the wicker chairs and sofas found in conservatories or outdoors.

‘Miroco Rattan Bench’ from Oliver Bonas

Rattan has been given a distressed romantic look with this bedside table from Swoon Editions. The bedside is the perfect companion for a glamorous, vintage-feel bedroom.

‘Albie Bedside Table’ from Swoon Editions

Pair these chairs from Habitat with this bar stool from Rockett St George, for a dramatic black wood and rattan weave combination; which look striking against one another. It’ll add a sense of contemporary rustic feel to a kitchen and dining area.

‘Oregan Black Chair with Natural Cord Seat’ from Habitat

‘Moroccan Natural Black Rattan Bar Stool’ from Rockett St George

If you’re really feeling wild, this flamboyant headboard from La Redoute really packs a punch; perfect if you love glam bohemian style with an impact.

‘Tio Rattan Headbord’ from La Redoute

Wicker and rattan don’t always have to come in large forms of furniture; sometimes the devils in the details, and these home accessories are rather sweet. This glass and carafe from Rose & Grey have a great safari style element to them, giving an ordinary household item an unusual design.

‘Wicker and Glass Cup and Carafe’ from Rose & Grey

These metal wire baskets with some wicker frame detailing a super sweet combination of rustic and industrial style. Great for storing food in the kitchen, or documents in the study.

‘Koba Bowl Square’ from Nkuku

Keep your laundry somewhere stylish with one of these colourful baskets from Maison du Monde, which are a great way to add a little fun to a bedroom.

‘Wicker Baskets in Yellow and Green’ from Maison du Monde

Big or small, wicker is an adaptable material to use in your home, working with all sorts of themes. Whether you want to dress up a bedroom, or storage area, or add some new lighting, there are some fun and interesting ways to include wicker and rattan to your home.

Art can be an intimidating business. It shouldn’t be because the purpose of art is primarily about pure delight for the eyes of the beholder but I do understand the home lovers’ dilemma when it comes to what to hang on your walls. In the back of most people’s minds, and I include in this even the most confident of us, is ‘what are other people going to make of the pictures on my walls?’. I’m not going to tackle the enormous subject of how to select your art here (although I am gearing up to this topic so watch this space) but what I am going to talk about now is the incredibly good news which is that, and I really mean this, how you present and hang your art is almost, indeed dare I say as important, as the art you choose.

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These lovely simple botanical drawings make a huge impact hung in a group and against the backdrop of Fired Earth’s delicious South Bank paint colour. The clever addition of the bench and cushions picks up the colours in the paintings and visually anchors the artwork.

 

When I hang art for clients, which is a task I love because it makes such a difference to how an interior looks, the first thing I ask them to do is to get all the art they have out (and this should incorporate everything – original paintings of worth or not, prints, framed posters, family pictures, sculpture, home-made craft projects and so on) so that we can look at it and discuss what they actually like and what they are less keen on but may have a good reason (or not) for keeping. In this exercise I am primarily interested in noting what their most loved pieces are which should be displayed in key areas (master bedroom, entrance hall, main living room – wherever a household spends time) and what is less loved but can find a home in a lesser used area of a house (cloakroom, guest bedroom, back entrance hall). Once we have had this frank conversation, which is not always easy, I then start to think about where to place artwork in the home.

It helps to bear in mind that artwork does not have to match an interior scheme, in fact I like a picture to bring something different and eye-catching to the look of a room, but it does have to look comfortable in the space, not overpowering everything else or being overwhelmed itself.

I often feel rather shame faced when I visit the fabulous Fitzwilliam Museum because I tend to head for the first floor galleries which I love and as I try hard to concentrate on the artwork I find my mind pondering exactly what colour the wall behind the great masterpiece is and examining the way the lighting has been achieved. I know I am supposed to be looking at the artwork, but actually it is the whole experience of those rooms that makes me love the galleries and whilst the rooms are certainly not pretending to be domestic interiors, I find the combination of the artwork with the rich background colours, the dark wood flooring, the lighting and the occasional pieces of furniture is what makes me very happy. The moral of the story is that an interior is a collage of many elements and if you get the balance right, the effect is glorious; out of balance and beautiful things suddenly can’t come to life in the way that you want them to.

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Putting a treasured painting in a master bedroom ensures it is regularly seen and enjoyed.

When you have got an idea of where you want your pictures to live, the art of hanging them well starts with checking the space around the piece – they need enough space to be seen and to shine on their own merit but also some reference to other furnishings or pictures. For example, a piece of furniture under a picture usually helps to visually anchor the artwork – you need to leave enough space between the furniture and the picture to allow some accessories on the surface, the picture should not hang so low that accessories obscure the picture and not so high that it is hanging in mid-air with no reference to the things below it at all. The best way to hang pictures is to get someone (one or more people depending on the size of the work) to hold the picture in place and then get them to go higher, lower, right a bit, left a bit until you find the place that the picture looks comfortable and hopefully before the holder’s arms start shaking and a row beings to brew. I generally find that pictures are hung too high – go as low as you dare and try to remember that being able to see the painting comfortably, even when you are sitting down, is also an important part of the exercise.

I cannot emphasise how important framing is and this decision includes whether to frame or not, as certainly not all artwork needs framing. Spend time, effort and money (as necessary) on making the absolute best of your artworks by considering how best to present them. A clever framer is a very good friend of the interior designer and I always make sure that I ask the advice of my framer as a starting point, who will generally consider the right approach to make the best of the picture, but then I may add an opinion on the look that we are creating in the interior. We tend to agree somewhere between the two which should ensure that the final approach adds to both the artwork and the interior.

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This very favourite painting is displayed in full view in a well used space

Moving pictures around is a surprisingly effective way of giving your home a bit of an update. I would like to say that I do this regularly but realistically it only really happens when I buy a new picture and move current ones around to accommodate it, but I am always surprised at the impact that a picture’s surroundings has on how the artwork itself is perceived. I recently acquired a lovely bright yellow velvet occasional chair which has found a very happy home in the corner of my bedroom. Interestingly three people who visit the house regularly asked, on completely separate occasions, whether the picture above it was new. In fact the picture has been there for quite a while and features quite a strong dash of yellow and I can only assume that the new chair combined with the painting draws the eye to the corner of the room more than before. Whatever it was, it is interesting that even a small change around can suddenly bring artwork, and it surroundings, to life.

Much as I love to see beautiful photography in an interior, which should be hung with the same consideration and principles as your other artwork, I also like to see personal photographs in a home as they so instantly individualise a space. These will probably not be the beautiful specimens that the great photographers produce and so need to be handled accordingly. Groups of photos (either in standing frames or wall hung) can be a good way to display images of family, holiday or a general hotchpotch of memories and should be thought of as an explosion of emotion, rather than a focus on one particular shot. A group of photos can also be added to and changed as life moves forward, which keeps your display up to date. Don’t feel you have to include every image, or record every event, or heaven forbid, have a photo of every family member (although you may have to swap pictures in on critical occasions so as not to cause a family dispute) – personal photos in your home are not an absolute record of your life, but an accessory that should lift your heart when you glance at them.

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This delightful tiny artwork is given a great presence by using a large mount with a simple frame and
being hung on a dark painted wall

Lighting is crucial for artwork (indeed for interiors generally and is a huge topic in itself). Think about what light you need for your artwork in daylight (which might still include artificial lighting) and what you need at night. You don’t have to only consider the traditional picture light – a light from the ceiling or a floor-standing uplighter can work really well too. Just as lighting art well is important for enjoying the work, shielding it from the sunlight is important for preservation purposes and should also be considered carefully.

Finally, I wish to joyfully dismiss the idea that you can’t hang pictures on wallpaper. You can and you should. Wallpaper is a splendid backdrop to your pictures, you will just need to be careful that the wallpaper doesn’t overpower the art either in terms of colour or pattern or both, it should be a backdrop so ensure that your art, not your wallpaper, is the star.

I have realised whilst I have been writing this piece that there really are a multitude of considerations when hanging artwork so what I say to you is don’t be overwhelmed by the task – get your picture hooks and hammer out and have a go. Unless you are wildly wrong, in which case you will have to get a pot of paint out, the new position for the picture will cover the first (and subsequent) hanging attempts and if you live with your efforts for a few days, you will soon know whether you got it right or not. I have rarely seen an interior that doesn’t benefit from having artwork on the walls so be brave and get those pictures hung.

This post appeared in the July edition of Cambridge Magazine

How They Decorated is a wonderful book filled with beautiful stories and inspiring images. The book tells the tales of ‘Great Women of the Twentieth Century’ and their incredible homes. As you move through the book, from the homes of nobilities to artists, you’re taken on a journey and though the styles and ideas change with time, one thing that is always present is impeccable and daring taste.

In the hallway, with the sitting room to the side, in Lady Diana Cooper’s London home is an unconventionally located bar with the owner’s portrait placed above for all to see. There’s an inviting sense of informality about this bar that juxtaposes the exuberant nature of the house itself; it brings together an idea of elegance with a dose of playfulness as well.

Another way Lady Diana shows off a relaxed approach to her home is with her faithful accessory, the hat, piled on top of one another, bar one that is placed upon a bust of herself in the centre of a chest of drawers. Lady Diana is quoted as saying, “I like bedrooms best… with a big bed and tiny dog”, continuing the sense of light-heartedness in her style.

Considered the “true queen of American style”, Evangeline Bruce’s interiors were timeless and soulful. Her private library has its walls and cupboards covered in fabric, giving the whole room a gloriously over the top effect.

Sybil Connolly was a celebrated fashion designer, and it’s evident that her love of fabrics filtered through to her home as well. The fabric effect papered walls of her Dublin house is something that practically no person, nor home could pull off, but somehow it turned out beautifully, paying homage to her lifework in one simple, but bold move.

There is something extremely enticing about this overly bejewelled mirror from Gabrielle van Zuylen’s home in Paris; it’s glamour at its finest.

Babe Paley, a New York socialite, had some truly fascinating interiors. This living room that is full to the brim with colours, texture and style is said to have been “the sum of what Babe herself personified – polished, sophistication, and legendary style.”

Another brightly coloured home is that of the writer Fleur Cowles. It’s the kind of home where everything stands out in its own right, and yet perfectly fits together in one flawless ensemble.

These footstools at designer Pauline Trigeres’ home in Westchester County in New York are just beautiful creations; the gorgeous mother-of-pearl inlay looks divine against the bold emerald green tops.

This garden room below is a one-of-a-kind vision that takes your breath away. It belongs to Bunny Melon in Virginia, and everything in it from the trelliswork to the arsenic colour, to the array of pots and baskets forms perfectly together to make a beautiful haven.

The home of Georgia O’Keefe respects the history of its location, New Mexico, as well as reflecting the modernist characteristics of herself and her work. The cool clay walls and long incorporated seating area are met with pops of colourful cushions and green plants, which gives the room a relaxed, understated but collected and assured atmosphere.

This book, from start to finish is a journey through homes and history. It perfectly sums up the idea that a home tells its owners story, and through this book you can see that these women lived great lives, in fabulous homes.

 

How They Decorated is available by Rizzoli

Sweet Tooth

A neutral or dark tone palette are a beautiful way to style your interiors, and there is nothing like a little pop of bright colour here and there to add some excitement and a refreshing touch to an otherwise colour free room. From oranges to yellows to pinks, a handful of candy colours can really add some flavour to your home.

‘Soufflé Sofa in Lava Plush Velvet’ from Loaf

The great thing about Loaf is that they not only do a great range of styles, but an amazing set of colourful fabrics as well. This fiery Lava velvet has the perfect dose spicy red mixed with a dusty romantic feel. It’s a bold choice, and it can really make a seating area come alive.

Give your dining table an extra zing of colour with these coloured candles from Graham & Green. The fruity shades will look almost as delicious as the food; stick to one bright shade for a harmonious flow, or create a pick ’n’ mix style with the whole range.

‘Tall Coloured Dining Candles’ from Graham & Green

Add a bounce to your neutral sofa or armchair with a zesty coloured cushion like this one from Rockett St George; the acid yellow is soften by the linen texture, and will give your sofa a modern but cosy feel.

‘Lisbon Soft Cushion in Acid Yellow’ from Rockett St George

I can never seem to resist a fluffy accessory or piece of furniture, especially not one in an unusual colour; this furry footstool from Lime Lace is a fun way to add colour to a living room. A small piece of furniture can be a great way to introduce colour as it won’t overpower the room. This Lilac shade is my favourite, but there are a whole load of other colours available as well.

‘Ceri Baa Sheepskin Footstool in Lilac’ from Lime Lace

Curiousa & Curiousa are a fantastic company that have some intriguing designs, and what’s more they are definitely not afraid of colour. This Gobstopper pendant in a lively green will add style and character to a room; giving it a real statement.

‘Gobstopper’ from Curiousa & Curiousa

For a small touch of orange and indigo blue these animal head hooks from Habitat are light-hearted way to give a utility or hallway some colourful fun.

‘Blue Horse Head Hook and Orange Cow Head Hook’ from Habitat

Or go big and bold with this vibrant, shocking pink chest of drawers. It may seem an ambitious choice at first but with the right accessories, this piece will look beautiful in a bedroom.

‘French Louis Chest in Fuchsia’ from Out There Interiors

Sticking to the pink palette is this raspberry rug from Luke Irwin, the deep shades mixed with the softer, faded sections gives the rug a look that isn’t too bright or harsh, making it perfect for adding some colour without it overwhelming the room.

‘Cato Raspberry Rug’ from Luke Irwin

Lastly, a dose of orange gives the concept of a grandfather clock a modern twist. The sharp black and the lively orange together create a clean and crisp look.

‘Orange Wall Hanging Pendulum Clock’ from Lime Lace

 

Adding spots of colour to your interiors is the perfect way to add a little something extra to your clean white, or dark moody scheme, helping you add an element of surprise to your home.