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Posts Tagged ‘London’

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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This month for our Film Friday we have the beautiful, witty film An Education from 2009 starring Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard. The film, which was nominated for three Oscars is based on the autobiographical essay by journalist Lynn Barber. The screenplay, written by Nick Hornby, follows the story of sixteen year old Jenny who meets a mysterious older gentleman, David, and gets whisked away by the romance of a glamorous London lifestyle, only to have everything come crashing down when David turns out to be a less than genuine character. The story is set in 1960s London, and is top to toe beautiful, and as the story unfolds we get to see more and more wonderful interiors, buildings, houses and shots all composed together by the wonderful director Lone Sherfig.

There is a clever juxtaposition between Jenny’s normal, boring home-life and the extravagant world she is introduced to after meeting David. This is displayed rather wonderfully through the various interiors and sets. Here you can see the mundane, ordinary setting of a suburban area where the audience first meets Jenny and her family.

Her family home is a typical semi-detached 1930s house that can be found almost in all towns across the country. The inside is bland, decorated with generic ornaments and dark corners, almost to emphasis the typical, dreary lifestyle she’s living.

In contrast one her first night out with David and his friends, the audience is catapulted into the glitz and glam world of the 1960s in cosmopolitan London.

David’s friends Danny and Helen, played by Dominic Cooper and Rosamund Pike respectively, live in a picturesque London flat, which while Jenny’s family home is the epitome of middle class suburban life, their flat on the other hand is the essence of the upper class fashionable London highlife.

Their flat is full to the brim of priceless antiques, paintings and furniture all of which capture ‘good taste’, therefore portraying not only their assumed financial wealth but their cultural wealth as well.

A particularly lovely scene for interiors is when Helen is dressing Jenny up in her bedroom. The room is wall to wall plush satins and luxurious pieces of furniture.

An Education is beautifully shot, using classic London locations and architecture to propel us back in time and to create an atmosphere that ties into the character’s feelings in the film. Each scene is delicately made, and perfectly curated to not only recreate a sixties vibe but a romantic and stylish one as well.

If not for the charming coming-of-age story, then for a few hours of style heaven, An Education is a delightful film that is perfectly executed and well worth a watch.

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A love for interior design and the activity of fantasy house-hunting tend to go hand-in-hand, so when Cate emailed me over a link to this divine property in London, my eyes lit up with excitement. Tucked away in the East End is a house that teleports you back through time and into a land of mystery and magic!


The exterior, although bold in size, is a little misleading as it fails to prepare you for the strikingly curated and fabulously spooky interiors. After over a century of being uninhabited the building was bought by director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Tim Knox and landscape gardener Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, who masterfully filled the property with their budding collection of objet d’art and obscure artefacts assembled over the years from markets and auctions.

The house was originally built in 1741, and later restored in 1997 but preserved in all its historic detail and glory. It’s the kind of home that is so unlike anything else we tend to see on a day-to-day basis that there is an intriguingly creepy edge to it, like something out of a period drama, perfectly fitting for telling a ghost story or two. Knox and Longstaffe-Gowan have gloriously filled the house with the perfect balance of wackiness and wonderments. You can see how the years of curating museums has influenced the decorative of this house, and perhaps vice versa.


Each room is effortlessly complied of trinkets and treasures, integrated with the period features, it’s the optimum example of a ‘house with character’ that is so often a necessity among buyers, however I have a sneaking suspicion that this might be just a little too avant-garde for the average taste. The house has everything, drama, romance, madness, it makes you a little nervous, filling your stomach with butterflies.
A stairwell has been decorating with an over-flowing collection of mounted animal heads, probably causing you to duck and weave your way around like an obstacle-course. I’d imagine that this home isn’t an easy-living situation, but more like living-art, each room with its quirks and adventures. The contrast between the taxidermy heads and the Virgin Mary statue casually place in the corner of the landing creates a rather eclectic look. It seems like almost a super-stylish haunted house that you’d find at fairs and adventure parks, although instead of being scary it’s just ultimately alluring.


The main bathroom in Malplaquet House has to be my favourite room, the walls are littered with a collection of crucifixes that invokes a wild, fanatic response. The largest crucifix looms over the roll-top bath, giving off a sacrificial atmosphere, or as if a séance or exorcism is about to take place. Its finishing touches like this one that create the visually dramatic and flamboyant ambience of the home.

The house holds itself in a rare fashion, it makes no apologies for its appearance or personality, there is no attempt to ‘fit-in’, but there is also no sense of overkill or a try-hard attitude present either. The interiors are filled with an authentic disposition that comes from a collection of bizarre and bewildering artefacts that have been accumulated in a natural process.
Whoever takes on the challenge of being the building’s next occupants is perhaps not just buying a home, but is becoming the invited guest of a house that stands the test of time, and exudes character and brilliance.

The Malplaquet House is available to buy from Fyfe McDade

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If you ever feel the urge to disappear for an afternoon and get lost in your surroundings, daydreaming of far and distant lands, then I have the perfect place for you. The Leighton House Museum, which was once the home of Victorian artist Lord Frederick Leighton, and the only studio-house open to the public in the UK, is truly an enigmatic and spectacular sight, making you feel as though you’ve teleported somewhere far, far away from Kensington, London.

Photo Credit: https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/

The interiors in Leighton House are completely breath-taking, mesmerising and unique, and they have served as inspiration for myself for many years gone by and many years to come I have no doubt. One of the main features I absolutely love about the house, which is a feature that nowadays is often hard to find, or to find done well, is that the decorative embellishment is a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall phenomenon. Every inch on the building’s foundations serve as a blank canvas and there is barely an inch left uncovered, and it’s this feature that gives the house its character, artistic status and overall wonderment.

I also love that the added bonus with this interior is how unexpected it is compared to the beautiful, but rather ordinary exterior of the Leighton House. Though you may walk by and think ‘what a lovely classic Kensington home’, you’d be forgiven for walking straight past without realising you are in fact missing all the marvellous and hidden treasures that lurk inside.

Photo Credit: http://www.artfund.org/

The house itself contains a large collection of paintings and sculptures from Lord Leighton and his fellow peers. Though Lord Leighton himself, is not the most distinguished artist from his period, his home is a clearly cultivated piece of art itself and is by far Leighton best gift onto the art world. The Leighton House is a visual representation of how taste and culture developed over the thirty years Leighton lived in the home. As well as the interiors of the house showcasing the rich cultural history of the world, the house itself was also occupied by many parties and gatherings of London’s cultural elite and the highbrow members of society, including no other than Queen Victoria herself.

Photo Credit: http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk

Photo Credit: https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/

The house features the work of one of my favourite Arts and Crafts artists, William de Morgan and his glorious tiles. The whole house follows the colour palette of deep blues and rich hues, giving it a dramatic and sensuous aesthetic. Leighton was a keen traveller and ventured to the Middle East, and you can see much influence from his travels, the house is even dubbed the place where ‘East meets West’.

Photo Credit: https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/ 

Photo Credit: https://hirespace.com/

Photo Credit: http://www.artfund.org/ 

I think this house is so special to me because as you walk around the rooms and gaze at the sea of ceramics, columns and marbles you can feel the rich history transpire from the walls and into the atmosphere and you can begin to paint a picture what the house was like in its heyday, when the rooms where filled with buzzes of laughter and chatter from a party or an eerie silence as Lord Leighton worked on his paintings. Leighton House Museum is a wonderland and a beautiful place to get lost in, if you ever get the chance.

 

For more information, visit:

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk

http://www.artfund.org

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I spent a lovely afternoon yesterday at the Ham Yard Hotel in Soho which opened last year and combines an amazingly central location with a very relaxed spacious environment. The interior design by co-owner Kit Kemp is fantastic with lots of colour, texture and eye-catching accessories which are cleverly combined to keep the overall feel calm and inviting. Spaces are superbly lit and cleverly move from the cosy feel of the library and drawing room to the buzz of the restaurant and on the drama of the basement bar and cinema room. I really enjoyed my visit (lunch with a great friend, loosely disguised as a business meeting) and am already looking for a reason to return.

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The main restaurant

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Garden room spaces off the main restaurant

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An ingenious and beautiful timepiece in the lobby

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The library

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Clever accessorising throughout

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The drawing room

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The bar being set up for an event

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The rather fabulous cinema room

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And yes, finally, I did take a picture of the ladies cloakroom.

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You might remember that we were rather taken with the interior backdrops shown in the fab film The Kings Speech (Film Friday blog 25 February 2011) – well look what is on the market! 33 Portland Place is a beautiful neo-classical building, designed by the Adam brothers, with a rich history of royalty, celebrity and controversy. It looks like it has bucket loads of potential, but I rather like the way it is now. It is on the market with Knight Frank. 

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Earlier this year London Underground celebrated its 150th anniversary. To mark the occasion, TFL (Transport for London) have collaborated with a number of designers to come up with some iconic underground themed collections.

Fired Earth has recently released their beautiful new limited edition ‘Underground 150 Collection’. On request of TFL, Fired Earth were asked to delve into the London Transport Museum archive’s and recreate a selection of some of the finest tiles used in London Underground stations. Using the original moulds taken from the archives, Fired Earth has done a spectacular job and has revived some truly delightful designs.

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The ‘Edwardian’ range, originally designed by Leslie Green in 1903, features the recognisable pomegranate and acanthus leaf designs with base tiles and dados in matching shades.

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Perhaps the most iconic range, ‘Signage’, includes a selection of famous underground phrases in their original typeface.

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The ‘Landmarks’ range features the designs of Harold Stabler, who was commissioned in 1939 to create large scale architectural ceramics for a number of Underground stations. Fired Earth has reproduced their favourite, including St Paul’s Cathedral, Crystal Palace and the Palace of Westminster.

In their ‘Underground Collection’, Kirkby Design has also collaborated with TFL to recreate these London Underground seat fabrics, which I have never seen looking so good! Taken from the London Transport Museum archives, these old moquette fabrics have been transformed into a fantastic contemporary collection of viscose velvets, which are cool, retro and rather iconic.

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Bench: Marylebone Kingfisher. Cushions from left: Marylebone Neon Orange, Piccadilly Havana, Bakerloo Neon Orange, Bakerloo Magnet.

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Cushions from left: District Blackberry, Bakerloo Kingfisher, Marylebone lime, Marylebone Eden, Bakerloo Neon Orange, Piccadilly Havana.

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Sofa: District Gold. Cushions: Bakerloo Magnet, Bakerloo Jet Black.

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Seats from left: Piccadilly Neon Orange, Piccadilly Kingfisher.

These collections have given me a fresh look at the London Underground, and the distinct designs that have transpired from underground transport. Do take a further look as there is plenty more to see, including Fired Earth’s fantastic vintage underground poster range.

This blog first appeared on the Cambridge Evening News website.

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