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A few weeks ago I went on a trip to the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow. In the middle of Lloyd Park sits a beautiful a grand Georgian house, and is entirely dedicated to the celebration of the Arts and Crafts designer. The house, the work and the atmosphere all make it well worth a trip; here are some of my highlights.

Illustrated Book by William Morris

The gallery is filled with William’s best and brightest work, from the beginning and end of his life, and continuing after his death as his company Morris & Co. lived on, and still continues today. The tapestry below was a rather unique piece in the collection, and although it was made in 1885, it has a very medieval quality to it, and is an ode to Morris’s love of storytelling.

Tapestry by William Morris

Cray Block Printed Cotton by William Morris

This intricate, floral design was created using natural vegetable dyes and needed thirty-four different woodblocks to complete the finished look; showing the dedication that Morris and his team put into their work.

There are all sorts of different pieces on display at the gallery, including this fireplace surround, which is beautifully decorated with Longden tiles in a sunny yellow, which have been attributed to Philip Webb who worked closely alongside William throughout his career.

Longden Tiles by Philip Webb

If you know William Morris, you’re probably aware of his ideologies that contributed to his style of work, and his return to art forms prior to the Victorian era. Morris created his work in protest to the industrial revolution, and the way it treated the workers as well as the quality of the work that was produced. Here, Morris designed this chair for his lodgings in London, and its style reflects a medieval style with painted panels; which was an era that Morris much admired.

Medieval Style Chair by William Morris

The gallery also featured a segment from William Morris’s first wallpaper design, Trellis, which also reflected his love for medieval art once again, and was based on a medieval style walled garden he had created at his home, Red house.

Trellis Wallpaper Design by William Morris

This Flowerpot embroidery, was an affordable design which proved very popular, and was made by May Morris, Morris’s very talented daughter; the design looks like it was perfectly made for a feature cushion.

Flowerpot Embroidery by William Morris

Another wallpaper design that really caught my eye was the Lily and Pomegranate design. It’s meticulous detail shows the craftsmanship that went into each and every piece; the background is made up of dots, which is intricate work and Morris is quoted as saying on the design “after taking all the trouble to draw it, do you think I’d be such a fool as not to do the dots?”

Lily and Pomegranate Wallpaper design by William Morris

May Morris, William’s daughter also had her own career as a designer and an embroiderer; and had an exhibition at the gallery as well. Her work was absolutely glorious, full of light and elegance.

Work by May Morris

This piece is absolutely luminous; there’s a delicacy it is and softness that is different to her father’s work.

Work by May Morris

This design was by far my favourite thing in the whole gallery. Intricate embroidery on a sheer silk background, shows off not only style but skill. The golden thread still shimmers today, holding all of its life even after all this time; it’s a truly breath-taking piece.

Detailing of Work by May Morris

Written on the wall in May Morris’ exhibition is a quote by her in her later life saying “I’m a remarkable woman – always was, though none of you seemed to think so”, which I thought was rather brilliant. Under the shadow of her father and his company, May Morris shined, although not in her own name, but today she get the celebration she deserves, and she truly does deserve it.

 

For more information on the William Morris Gallery visit their website www.wmgallery.org.uk/

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Fireplaces can be a mistreated part of the home, especially in an old house that’s gone through its fair share of renovations. Gutted, over-embellished, given a heinous mantelpiece, or even boarded up, some fireplaces have been through it all. So if you have a slightly neglected fireplace, or are looking for some new ideas to spruce yours up, here are a few ways you can give yours a bit of life back.

If your fireplace is a little lacklustre, you can turn it into an attractive feature by updating the surround.  You may just have a simple mantelpiece that can be given a new lease of life with a lick of paint, which can completely change its look. I found this image on Pinterest of this traditional mantelpiece that’s been painted in Downpipe by Farrow & Ball; giving it a sophisticated and modern look. It’s an ideal solution if you’ve moved into a period property but want to keep the interiors contemporary.

Traditional Mantelpiece painted in Downpipe from Farrow & Ball from Emma Connolly via Pinterest

Another way you can update a fire surround, is by replacing dated tiles with a newer design. This image of a wooden mantelpiece juxtaposed with white tiles and dark grout creates an interesting look, allowing for a combination of old and new, soft and hard.

Wooden mantelpiece and contemporary tile from Apartment Therapy via Pinterest

For a similar look, I love this tile from Bert & May, the small hexagonal pattern in a light grey would look great next to a painted mantelpiece, in either a dark or bright colour.

Glazed Grey Daroca Tile from Bert & May

Traditional Fender around a stone fireplace by Acres Farm via Houzz

Having a fender around your fireplace has more than just a functional aspect, it can also look rather stylish and give the area a touch of glamour. The fender above made by Acres Farm has a traditional look, perfect for this large stone fireplace place.

If you’re going for an uber-glam and sophisticated looking in your living area, a pair of well-crafted dogs will look gorgeous, almost as gorgeous as a real dog lying in front of your fireplace showing his belly to the world.  These leaf style fire dogs from Chesneys are beautiful, working perfectly with the dark walls, modern art and crisp-marble mantelpiece.

Leaf Fire dogs from Chesneys from Dear Designers via Pinterest

Fire dogs can be a great way to introduce some avant-garde design to your fireplace, I love this abstract dog-like design from Jamb. They’ll keep your fireplace looking good even when it isn’t lit.

Large Linton Fire dogs from Jamb

Adding some extra fireplace accessories can give yours its own spark of personality, whether you want to add some contemporary coolness or a bit of extra glamour. A fire guard can really show off some character; it doesn’t have to be in the same style as the rest of the fireplace, if you have a period fireplace in your home, inserting something like this clear glass guard from Graham & Green can keep it feeling relevant.

Clear Glass Fireguard from Graham & Green

Keeping your logs safe and dry is a must for a successful fire, and what is a must for someone with a stylish home is that they are kept safe and dry in a fashionable manner. This steel open-basket style holder will look great next to a fire with the flames reflecting against the metal.

Burnished Steel Log Holder from Cox & Cox

If you’re style is more suited to the classic wicker log basket, this Holkham log basket from Grace and Glory has a simple but lovely design to it.

Holkham Log Baskets from Grace & Glory

A hearth is a great place to add some decoration to as well, if not you don’t need the roaring fire on, but still want the ambience, using candles can give the same effect whilst looking cosy and dramatic. I love this image of a collection of candles and trays, to equally protect the hearth and look fabulous, it gives the fireplace a playful edge.

Candles and Trays from Muus on Tumblr via Pinterest

Metal Tray from H&M home

H&M Home has a great selection of trays to choose from so you can experiment with difference looks without breaking the bank. And finally, I had to throw in this adorable fireside accessory from Graham & Green, these matches in a glass bottles are the perfect way to finish off your fireplace look.

Glass Jar Dark Green Matches from Graham & Green

Glass Jar with Dark Green Matches from Graham & Green

From big changes to little ones, there are loads of ways to get creative with your fireplace, you don’t just have to settle for what you’ve been given. It’s a great canvas to really show off your style with, and an interesting place to play around with colour, shape, style and decoration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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They often tend to be forgotten about, but stairwells are a prime bit of decorating real estate. As long as the basic function of your stairs isn’t compromised, you can have pretty much a free reign on how you’d like to utilise the area; turning it from a passing space getting you from A to B, into a beautiful feature in its own right. Whether you’re thinking big and bold or simple and sweet, there are loads of great ways to style a staircase, and the individual parts of them that you may not have thought about.

Your stair risers, the vertical part between each step, is often an underrated part of your stairway, and it’s a great place to add a little stylistic element, especially if you have narrower stairs that can’t afford to give up any surface space. Depending on your style, and the style of your home, there are all sorts of ways to get creative. Using tiles to decorate your risers can be a lovely way to introduce a pattern or colour into the area, and can really give your stairs some extra flair. This monochrome mix of tiles leading up the stairs really adds some personality, turning the stairs into a main focal point.

Hand Painted Tiles on Stair Risers from Eva Rees Flickr via Pinterest

I love this idea of introducing to developing a theme with the tiles you’re using, these Gatsby tiles from Fired Earth has an Art Deco style, and could give a staircase a really beautiful, smart finish.

Gatsby Tile from The High Society Collection from Fired Earth

If you live in a rented property, or just what to try out a style, using decals is a simple and easy way to add a pattern to your stairs. This geometric pattern has introduced a bit of flavour to a clean and contemporary case of stairs; it works perfectly with the dark wood of the steps.

Stair Decals by Stickers Colouray at Etsy

The wall leading up the staircase is an optimal location to hang a collection of artwork, big or small, especially if you have a few pieces that don’t quite go with the style of your living or bedroom, but you love them anyway. A stairway is well suited for this as it means you’ll see your pieces everyday but not all day, every day. You might want to create some synergy between your artwork, sticking to similar style frames and the artwork itself, or use the space as a miscellaneous heaven, with a collection you’ve been compiling for years and can continue to add to.  I like the black and gold theme of this collection below, it gives a sense of matching tranquility, as well a glamorous feel.

Collection of Prints with Gold and Black Frames from Apartment Therapy via Pinterest

If you have a collection similar to this one, creating a beautiful wall display on your stairs may be the best way to show it off. Displaying it on the stairs means both you and your guests will find new discoveries as you’re coming and going.

Collection of Curiosities from Remodelista via Pinterest

In the same way a collection of art works wonderfully on your stairs, so does a gang of mirrors, or ornamental frames. Whether it’s a contemporary, vintage or traditional style you want to go for, a selection of mirrors moving up the stairs can make a beautiful feature. I love this collection, they’re all different, but kept in sync by their white frames.

Antique Mirrors on the Stairs by Turquoise, Tulips and Bliss via Pinterest

Somewhere in between artwork and antique mirrors lies these gorgeous glass frames from Anthropologie. With their ornate detailing, tassels and space to put prints, postcards, leaves and memorabilia, they’d make a beautiful feature on your stairs.

Royal Theatre Frames from Anthropologie

If you have a wider case of stairs, or perhaps a landing between two flights, you have the opportunity to use of a bit of surface space to decorate. A simple way to give this area a bit of life is with some pretty lanterns, which are always sweet and can be found in a whole variety of styles. If you’re worried about a fire hazard, you can always get some good quality LED candles that’ll still keep the ambience going, without you having to check on them every few minutes. I love these lanterns below, they’re a soft brass colour, which really pops against the stark white or the rest of the interior.

Staircase Lantern Decoration from Anne Sage via Pinterest

For a similar look, these brass lanterns from Mia Fleur will do the trick nicely, the different sizes with help create a nice flow as you move up and down the stairs.

Brass Lanterns from Mia Fleur

For a contemporary take on the Moroccan style lantern, coming soon to Maison du Monde are these fabulous Breme lanterns. The curved glass panes are a nice design feature, and would look beautiful contrasting a white wall, or embracing the drama in a darker interior.

Breme Metal Lantern from Maison du Monde

Your staircase can be more than something you just run up and down when you’re in a rush in the morning; instead it can be a glorious array of style and intrigue, full of creative ideas and interesting items that you pick up over time, giving you an excited new space in your home.

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This week at Angel + Blume we’re in love with big, bright and beautiful colours, and we want you to fall in love as well, so we’ve put together some of our favourite collections of the best and brightest designs you’ll see this season. Fortune favours the brave and you won’t be disappointed if you decide take the leap of faith and go all out with these outstanding designs.

What first inspired us to write this blog was seeing the beautiful advert for the new Diane von Furstenberg collection for Kravet.

Although this might be a little full-on for some people and their homes, the colours and patterns are exquisite and would each make an outstanding statement piece individually.

For a less bright, but equally dynamic look, see the Funky Zebra pattern from the DVF collection. The cool blue tones allow for a more understated style, whilst the pattern keeps the fun flowing.

This season Kravet has also teamed up with Jonathan Adler for another dazzling collection, and it’s just the thing if you’re looking for a little retro boost for your home.

There are very few people who do bold and beautiful better than Dominic Crinson. His wallpaper and tile designs are everything you’ll need to channel your flamboyant style, and if you’ve got the moxie, your home will shine with originality and flair.

Although not for the faint hearted, Crinson’s designs are gloriously avant-garde, perfect for a modern day home or even to spice up an old period house.

If you’re in the market for some beautiful tiles, but are finding Dominic Crinson’s style a little overwhelming, Emery and Cie may be just the ticket. They’re style is still bold and beautiful, but with more of a classic edge, the collection ranging from Iznik influences to Art Nouveau, here are just a few of my favourites.

The Faux Iznik tiles from Emery and Cie are perfect for adding some exotic, heritage style into your home, ideal for a fireplace or bathroom.

These Fez Pottery designs, which come in these wonderfully tranquil turquoise hues, would make a lovely feature in any room, and are a timeless piece that will interact with most styles seamlessly.

Another beautiful design from Emery and Cie are these sweet Mirror Scale tiles.

They’d make a stunning frame around a mirror or cabinet but if you really want to go for something eye-catching then be brave and cover an entire wall in the tiles.

Going a little more low-key but still sticking to some exciting block colours, you can dress up the front of your cabinets with these lovely designs from Superfront, a company that creates fronts, handles, tops and legs for popular IKEA cabinets.

Available in a variety of colours and patterns, they’re a great way to reboot your kitchen or any cabinet pieces without remodelling, and are great for updating your home as your style or colour preference changes.

If you are a fan of wild colours for your interior why not dive in at the deep end and paint your walls with some bold colour choices, no one ever said that a blank canvas needed to be white. Designers Guild has some wonderful paints, and this TG Green is amazing with just the right amount of outrageousness.

If you want to treat your walls (and your eyes) to some daring wallpaper, look no further than the king of patterns and prints Matthew Williamson. His Cuban influenced collection for Osborne & Little combines retro glamour with contemporary colours and will have you spoilt for choice.

I love this palm tree wallpaper; it’ll turn any room into a little paradise, and the same can be said for this flamingo and flower print, shown here as a fabric.

My absolute favourite design in the collection though is this wonderful Arini wallpaper.

The contrast between the metallic background and the colourful parrots is playfully elegant; it’ll exhibit your style whilst also showing that you don’t take life too seriously.

Though you need your home to be liveable and functional it doesn’t mean that you need to steer clear from the element of fun, these designs and collections are perfect for keeping your spirits up and putting a smile on your face.

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Mandarin Stone are well known for their beautiful natural stone products and we are delighted to have a fantastic showroom in Cambridge manned (womaned) by a very helpful and well informed team, but what I hadn’t realised is that they also have the most beautiful selection of decorative tiles.  The designs are delightful and are coupled with the most wonderful colours and textures and I highly recommend a visit to the showroom to see them as beautiful as these pictures are, they are much better in the flesh.

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As a true East Anglia fan, I am ashamed to say that until last week, I had only fleetingly visited the Suffolk coast and I am delighted to report that I not only had a wonderful week in this beautiful county but I also uncovered some new treasures on the interiors front, and visited some old favourites.

My first find was Smoke and Fire in Darsham who make the most beautiful and creative tiles. Their decorative tiles are real works of art and I love the delicate colours of their plain tiles. I would highly recommend a visit to their showroom where the tiles are also made.

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Two of my favourite lighting companies are based in Suffolk and I took the opportunity to visit both. The first is Bella Figura who have a head office and small showroom in Melton (their main showroom is in Chelsea Harbour) where they make their lighting, using glass brought over from Italy. The products are gorgeous and it was amazing to see the workshop and a selection of some of the new chandeliers that will not disappoint.

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The other lighting company that I love and we have worked with for a long time is Jim Lawrence who have a fantastic showroom in Hadleigh that displays almost every product they have. They have more recently expanded into other homeware including fabrics, furniture and accessories and although it is generally their lighting that catches my eye, I couldn’t resist their new scented candle (pink pepper and green mandarin) which is delicate and delicious.

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Woodbridge is a town that is really worth a visit and I made two brilliant discoveries there – the first was 10 Church Street which is a wonderful interiors shop selling a carefully selected mix of tasteful and stylish furniture, soft furnishings and accessories. Some of their products are on their website so it is worth keeping an eye on what they have in stock www.10churchstreet.co.uk

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The second is a delightful business run by three sisters called Sant Studio which sells jewellery, textiles and home accessories. Everything in this delicious shop was tempting but the jewellery really caught my eye and they have just a few items on their website, although you really need to visit to see how lovely the stock is.

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Last but not least is the fantastic Thorpeness Emporium – we were based in Thorpeness (which is lovely) so we visited almost everyday for a browse at the antiques and a cup of delicious coffee in the cafe. They also had an exhibition of gorgeous prints by a local artist called Liz Clark and if you are modernist or retro style inclined, these might appeal. I thought they were lovely.

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I am now back and hard at work – customers of Angel and Blume will be pleased to hear – but I will be going back to the Suffolk coast as soon as I can, I am a convert!

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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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