a way of life...

Month: September 2018

London Design Festival 2018

London Design Festival 2018 hit the streets this week. With events taking place across the capital from Sunday through to Sunday this is a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of the up and coming trends and to gain first hand knowledge from some of the biggest names in the business.

I don’t often find myself in the presence of some of the world’s most famous interior designers but this week has been an exception and I’m still having to pinch myself!

To kick off the week I visited Decorex at Syon Park in Isleworth. Arriving early, parking was easy and foot traffic light.

Some of the big names were either at the show in person, or had been commissioned to design some of the installations.

Taking centre stage was the well attended bar designed by Freddy van Zevenbergen of Lambart & Browne. A lifelike peacock, black feather chandeliers, and a giant Silent Pool gin bottle set the scene.

Lavish bar designed by Lambart & Browne

Another well known name having a presence at the show was Annie Sloan.  Launching three new paint colours and a a bookazine entitled The Colourist the stand stood out from the crowd.

The Colourist

A common theme at this year’s Decorex was craftspeople in action. The Odd Chair Company and Pigmentti, an artisan decoration company, were two of the four making an appearance as part of the renowned In The Making feature areas, where four invitation-only spaces demonstrate how products are made, finished, and decorated.

The Odd Chair Company

Pigmentti demonstrating bas-relief Marmorino

This show never fails to exhibit a diverse range of interior styles and products. Whether you favour minimalism or maximalism there was something for everyone.



One of my last ports of call before leaving the show was the Dupenny booth. These cheeky designs, the creations of Emily Dupen, adorn wallpapers, fabrics, and gifts in a truly original fashion.

Dupenny Illustration & Design

Next on my agenda was Red’s Smart Women Week at Carlton House Terrace in London. Hosted by Hearst magazines it promised to be an enlightening show. Amongst the speakers that I went to listen to were four of the most current names in the world of interiors.

Participating in the networking breakfast, Sophie Robinson (BBC’s Great Interior Design Challenge), Linda Boronkay (Design Director, Soho House), Jemma Ahmed (Director or Global Insights, Etsy), and the infamous Kelly Hoppen, educated the audience in the art of growing your interior design brand.

Red Smart Women networking breakfast

Armed with an insight into the success of these four ladies I hopped in a black cab to arrive in time for my next seminar at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour.

Focus/18 is a major part of the London Design Festival and provides access to the vast number of showrooms at DCCH. It also incorporates daily talks, demonstrations and guided tours.

With limited time to spend attending the festival I am always keen to attend at least one of the hosted conversations and this year my choice was Giles Kime interviewing legendary designer Nina Campbell. Sharing secrets of an illustrious career spanning fifty years I felt very privileged to be in the same room.

Much of the talk and images related to her newly published tome,  Elegance & Ease. Needless, to say I could not miss this opportunity to buy a signed copy by the doyenne herself.

After quaffing a quick glass of bubbly to celebrate the book launch I headed back out of town to reflect on a fabulous day.

Autumn Art Scene

It’s not often that I take time out at the weekend but when the opportunity presented itself to me this morning I thought why not? Yes, I had a hundred things planned, and yes I had made a 6am start to work on my current projects but, that said, I thought some time out with my other half might be good for the both of us.

Jumping in the car we headed for the great British seaside at Hastings. This is one of my favourite seaside destinations as I can recall happy memories of family holidays and days out.

Today we bypassed the hustle and bustle and instead wound our away along the coast through St. Leonards and onto Bexhill-on-Sea.

Here we pulled into the car park of the De La Warr Pavilion and promptly paid our dues to stay for no more than two hours.

We immediately headed towards the beach and enjoyed the warm autumn sunshine diluted by the crisp sea breeze. We huddled together in the shelter of a waterside café and ordered hot chocolate and warm cheese scones.

With our appetites sated we wandered along the prom engaging in the atmosphere provided by the independent traders selling their wares from their concrete kiosks.

Needless to say I was drawn to MHRetroFurntiure where we found Martin Hendry purveyor of funky mid-century miscellany. Specialising in brightly coloured cabinets decorated with sassy posters he was a definite favourite.

Our next stop was the pavilion itself where we unwittingly walked into an exhibition of works by Alison Wilding. Entitled “Right Here and Out There” her monolithic creations mimic the container ships on the horizon.

The sunlight streaming in through the gallery windows lit up the sculptures and bounced off their high gloss surfaces and through their translucent shapes.

After a brief tour of the gift shop we walked towards the town centre where a continental market was in full swing. Topped and tailed by the Bexhill motoring club an array of vintage and classic cars caught the eye of inquisitive passers by.

Concluding our brief encounter with Bexhill-on-Sea I have to admit that I had not expected it to have such a prominent autumn art scene nor to embrace such a variety of individual artisans.

Driving home I felt that our visit underlined the importance  of getting out and about to see how the rest of the world is performing and to ensure that my work remains fluid and fresh.

Shades of Summer

The summer of 2018 has seen extended periods of above normal seasonal temperatures. Rising to the mid-30’s for days on end, sitting out in the afternoon sun has been particularly uncomfortable.

With this in mind, when my daughter-in-law and her mum came for afternoon tea I made a camp under the shade of the apple tree.

Shifting my heavy teak chairs from their normal “sundowner” location at the front of the house I placed them under the leaf-laden branches. I manoeuvred a matching café style table and covered it with a cloth made from an Ikea gingham fabric.

Coordinating cushions, and pink, white, and turquoise bunting completed the “soft furnishings” and provided the perfect backdrop for a delicious cream tea which was served on white china plates and in Joules mugs.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the consistently warm weather over these past few weeks as it has enabled me to make full use of the garden and, as a consequence, made the house seem so much bigger.

Although the soaring temperatures seem to have come to an end, and the days are getting noticeably shorter, I gather fair weather is forecast until October. I relish the thought of a mild autumn and shall continue to enjoy alfresco dining for as long as possible.

I hope you do too x

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