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LDW 2019 Highlights

Attending London Design Week (LDW) never fails to inspire. From the romantic, opulent, to the downright quirky.

Here are some of my OMG moments…..


Exhilarating opulence

There was nothing low key or understated in the Turnell & Gigon at Home showroom. Inspired by “The Great Gatsby” and orchestrated by designer Katharine Pooley there was not a single ostrich feather or crystal out of place.

Audrey Hepburn was the inspiration for Perrin & Rowe’s window. Created by floral designers Studio Sorores it’s a scene that is reminiscent of summer, romance, and glamour.

A bubble bath that dreams are made of..

This quirky collection of wall coverings by Cole & Son immediately transported me to a fantastic dream world.

Cole & Son wallpapers

Set against the backdrop of a city loft apartment, Trevor Wilson, of the Beaufort Collection, explored the ins and outs of window dressing designs and styles.

Handmade, with the most extraordinary attention to detail, Beaufort’s range of soft-furnishings add a touch of luxury to residential and commercial interiors alike.

News flash

Just by coincidence I arrived at StudioTex as proprietor, Stephen Doughty, was unpacking a brand new range of HBF fabrics.

Eager to share he quickly laid out the colour-ways for these geometric patterned textiles, “Moving Forward” and “Caddy Corner”.

Amidst the rushing around I did manage to sneak into two of the scheduled workshops.


At Baker, on the First Floor of the South Dome, Nicola Burt of KLC School of Design, presented a comprehensive guide to decluttering. This was a timely reminder that the 2019 40 Bags in 40 Days™ Decluttering Challenge runs from March 6th until April 20th.

Over in Design Centre East, Kay Chattun, co-founder and creative director of Lacaze presented a masterclass covering the fundamentals and processes of upholstery. Covering everything from materials, to fire treatment, to ergonomics this was a compelling talk.


The end of the day brought one final treat and that was the launch of Kit Kemp’s new book; Design Thread.

“The secret is to select an interior you want to live with forever” – Kit Kemp

The hour long talk by Kit Kemp transported the audience through the pages of this tome; a colourful, textural world of private homes and exclusive hotels.

Each interior punctuated with quirky finds to ensure a truly original design.

A love of folklore and a collaboration with artisans is evident in these interiors.

Listening to this lady speak was truly inspiring and reinforced my love of colour and a sense of fun.

I hope you’re enjoyed my reflections of LDW 2019

London Design Week 2019

Today’s the day that I’m off to DCCH to attend London Design Week 2019.

I’ve scoured the Event Programme and circled those that are of interest.

I’ve read-up on the participants so that I can make a beeline for the most inspirational.

All being well my current programme will commence at 2pm at Baker on the First Floor of the South Dome. Here KLC School of Design will present a storage and decluttering workshop.

From here I will make my way to the 3rd Floor of the North Dome where, at 3pm, the Beaufort Collection will be hosting a creative curtain talk. This ticks the box for me as I have a genuine interest in soft-furnishings and am always searching for new ideas for window dressings.

At 4pm I intend to make my way to the 3rd Floor of the Design Centre East in time for an Upholstery Masterclass hosted by Lacaze London.

I will grab a break between 5 and 6pm to mooch around the showrooms and get a feel for the up and coming trends for 2019 and beyond.

My last rendezvous will be at TALK on the First Floor of the Design Centre East to listen to Fiona McCarthy interview internationally acclaimed designer Kit Kemp.

I will ensure that I take plenty of photographs during my, all but fleeting, visit and keep you updated with my take on all that is current in the world of interior design.

Unicorns and Superheroes

If you are looking for an alternative to unicorns and superheroes then take a look at Romo’s showroom at The Design Centre, Chelsea Habour. Situated on the first floor of the North Dome,  they have an area dedicated to children’s décor.

Instead of pastel coloured ponies and muscle bound macho men,  here you will find images of child-friendly characters, leafy trees, and stretched yellow limos.

A diverse range of wall  coverings, fabrics, and soft furnishings, provide a fantasy backdrop for the new born through to their older siblings.

Children’s décor at Romo’s showroom

Whimsical bugs and butterflies spread their wings amongst the summertime flowers in this magical garden (below). This scene conjures up a warm summers day, alive with the hum of insects in the air, pollinating the enticingly colourful plants.

Woodland creatures tentatively explore the forest floor as a gentle breeze awakens the sleepy forest.

Alongside these scenes of this summer idyll sit Frann Preston-Gannon’s illustrations of different animal habitats.

From the lush and exotic Amazon rainforest, to the frozen Arctic, your child will meet exotic creatures of the jungle through to penguins and polar bears that swim beneath the frozen seas.

Punchy pops of colour and circus like beasts provide a vibrant edge to this carefully curated corner. This desperately dark blue cupboard bursts into life when its doors are flung open to reveal its sherbert pink interior.

Conjuring up stories of faraway lands it will fire up the imagination of the young traveller.

Illustrator Christopher Corr’s fabrics and wallpapers will take the intrepid explorer from the pink city in India, island hopping around the Med, to the hustle and bustle of the night time city scape of Manhatten.

Villa Nova have collaborated with these three illustrators, Yuval Zommer, Frann Preston-Gannon and Christopher Corr to create their Picturebook collection. The end result is a host of  fabrics, wall coverings, and accessories which bring to life the fantastic world of the story book.

Let the story commence…

London Design Week 2018

There is more to London Design Week than meets the eye and it is the reason I return each year.

An important element of London Design Week is “Access All Areas” which incorporates a number of showrooms outwith the Chelsea Harbour complex. This year, my first port of call was Osborne & Little on the Kings Road, to view the cake, and to do a little research….

Standing six feet tall, and constructed from O&L’s iconic fabrics, the cake had been made to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

Birthday cake

Aside from the cake, the showroom paid homage to Osborne & Little’s heritage with an exhibition of archive designs. I was thrilled to find an original pattern book that contained a hand printed paper that I had used to wallpaper the walls of my sitting room back in the early 80’s. It made a huge impact on me at the time as, until then, I had been living  with my parent’s painted anaglypta!

Osborne & Little archive print

Chelsea Harbour opened its doors to London Design Week 2018 at 10 o’clock on Sunday morning. Anxious to spend a full day absorbing the atmosphere and embracing the event I rocked up in time to attend the first Conversation In Design Event.

London Design Week isn’t just about the showrooms and their products but, as much, if not more so, about the glitterati of interior designers who put in an appearance at the show. Whether it be in person, or as part of a collaboration that put the amazing 2018 Legends window displays together, they were there in force.

Having done my homework prior to my arrival I headed up to the Design Club on the Third Floor of the South Dome to listen to words of wisdom spoken by Sir Peter Osborne, co-founding partner of Osborne & Little.

Interviewed by Deborah Barker, Editor in Chief of Homes & Gardens, he spoke candidly of his 50 years working alongside Antony Little. He happily answered questions raised by his attentive audience and even offered fatherly advice to a new generation of designers.

I was surprised to learn that his background was in banking, rather than design, and has therefore shaped the commercial side of the business. His sage advice was to start your own business as it can be very rewarding but, that said, he added that watching the cashflow is key to success.

Sir Peter Osborne in conversation with Deborah Barker

Also present at the event was legendary designer Paolo Moschino.

As another commercially astute man he had taken a brand and made it his own. His Nicholas Haslam showroom was the first stop on the afternoon’s Design Discovery Tour that I had joined to gain insider knowledge! Exuding charm and charisma Mr. Moschino hosted an impromptu Q&A session with our entranced group.

His secret to success …. make it commercial.


Another interesting venue on the Design Discovery Tour was the showroom of McKinney & Co where we viewed an extraordinary collection of curtain poles, finials, pelmets, coronas, tie-backs, door knobs, hooks, and handrails.

I was particularly taken with the transparent poles that were filled with everything from tiny white teddy bears to feathery down. I could imagine these being used in a nursery to create a gorgeous whimsical effect.  Add to them  The Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company’s “The Bunny Gets It” range of fabrics and you would have a child’s room fit for royalty.

McKinney & Co

During a brief break from organised events I took the opportunity to walk the show.

Attracted by the floral arrangement in the window of  Sutherland Perennials Studio I dropped in to take a closer look at the colourful range of fabrics on display.

Window Display by Phillip Corps Exquisite Flowers

I learned that these are 100% solution-dyed acrylics which are high-performance luxury fabrics which can be used outside as well as inside. Technically superior, the fabrics are fade resistant, mildew- and mold-resistant, bleach cleanable and easily maintained.

Kelly-Anne Bailey

Kelly-Anne Bailey took time to demonstrate the ease with which a red wine stain could be removed from a Perennials fabric with a regular household cleaning agent.

Perennials Fabric topiary tree

I was particularly struck by the topiary trees constructed from a selection of Perennials’ luxury fabrics which include prints, wovens, jacquards and velvets.

One of the most informative and popular Access All Areas events was held at the Evitavonni showroom on the Second Floor of the South Dome.  Here a panel of experts, moderated by Sophia Salaman of the World of Interiors, discussed how to find inspiration to enable themselves, as designers, to evolve and grow.

One of the most encouraging tips I took on board was to collect and catalogue images that personally inspire me. With today’s smart phone technology that is a no-brainer, but personally, I still like to collect magazine clippings and fabric swatches for my own use.

Sophia Salaman of the World of Interiors moderates

Leaving the show a little before closing time I felt uplifted and motivated and, I can honestly say that it wasn’t due to the endless glasses of champagne on offer as, on this occasion, I had chosen to drive and park at the harbour!

If time allows, I would certainly like to revisit the show before it ends on Friday as notable names such as Kit Kemp MBE and Lord Snowdon will be in attendance.

For more information about previous LDW’s visit my blogs at:

Tooth & Claw Brixham

Sunny Brixham is full of surprises. A gentle stroll in the sunshine turned into a voyage of discovery when I was there last weekend.

Set high above the harbour, a short stroll from the town centre, you will find Middle Street.

18-20 Middle Street

This is less seaside and more interior heaven. At first glance it may appear a little down at heal, and admittedly on a Sunday morning some of the shops were closed, but as the summer season gets well underway this will be the place to come.

Old and new

Tooth & Claw have set the scene since their arrival two years ago as more of the previously empty shops are being taken over by budding entrepreneurs.

Eclectic emporium

This is the place to come if you are looking for something that is a little off beat and quirky. In Tooth & Claw you will find an eclectic collection of gifts and homeware.

Mid-century artefacts

Part gothic and part mid-century modern this shop is leading the way for others to open up in the near future.

So when you’re tired of the seaside themed interior shops, of which there are many, take a gentle stroll away from the harbour and you will be pleasantly surprised .

For more information and on-line shop visit Tooth & Claw.

Design Roadshow

The Taste of Design roadshow is celebrating 20 years this year. With venues across the UK the roadshow started on April 26 in Dublin and ends on May 25 in Cheshire. Venues are chosen for their beauty, history, gardens, ambience and locations.  The objective being to provide a relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere to view fabulous products in every corner of the country.

This year I ventured to Great Fosters in Egham to attend the roadshow. This stunning Grade One listed building in 50 acres of gardens and parkland is a showstopper in itself. The core of the house being built in the 1500’s is considered to be one of the finest examples of domestic architecture in Surrey.

Great Fosters Egham

On arrival one enters the house through a sturdy wooden door which opens into the lobby. Here, in this ornately panelled room,  you can’t help but be blown away by the spectacular table top floral arrangement.

Entrance lobby

Beyond this is the hotel reception where I was cheerfully greeted and directed to the exhibition hall which  was situated across a courtyard surrounded by beautiful barn-style buildings.


The entrance to the exhibition was clearly defined by a large billboard and a  contemporary armchair displaying a selection of colourful cushions.

Exhibition entrance

On entering I was presented with a black linen bag full of the exhibitors’ literature. Within the contents I found purveyors of exotic fabrics and wall coverings; the makers of fine furniture; endless luxurious floor coverings; a magnificent selection of wall and table lamps; and some rather grand curtain poles and fixings.

Over a brief lunch of fresh sandwiches and sparkling water I jotted down exhibitors of interest. Notebook in hand I ventured into the well attended hall and made a beeline for those on my list.

Heathfield& Co. were first. As designers and manufacturers of bespoke decorative lighting I was keen to source a small occasional lamp for a project in which I am currently involved. I found exactly what I was looking for so I was able to tick that off my list.

My next encounter was with George Spencer Designs who were exhibiting some of their exclusive collections of fabrics. I was struck by their colours and textures and was advised that the fabrics on show were much more akin to country homes as opposed to city dwellings. This struck a chord as I love colour in my own home and often find London show homes very cold and unwelcoming by comparison.

John Boyd Textiles were the next stand to catch my attention with their incredible collection of horsehair fabrics. Their Somerset factory is home to the world’s only mechanical horsehair-weavers who create traditional and modern fabrics to last several lifetimes.

My final port of call was to Jacaranda carpets and rugs who specialise in handmade textures and natural materials and colours. I was particularly interested to learn that they provide a colour matching service which allows carpet and rug colours to be matched to fabrics, paint samples, and pantones. This is an invaluable resource which I have only discovered quite recently.

Laden with armfuls of swatches and a purse full of business cards I headed out into the warm sunshine for a pleasant drive home through the Surrey countryside.


Discovery Trail

Notebook and camera in hand I eagerly joined the Discovery Trail at DCCH on the last day of London Design Week.  Hosted by Ben Spriggs, deputy editor of Elle Decoration, the trail would take in some of the biggest names in the industry.

GP & J Baker

Our first stop was at GP & J Baker where we were introduced to Threads, a range of soft, gentle, urban coloured fabrics in velvet, jacquard weaves, and sheers. Next we were introduced to Baker, a collection of fabrics with a royal influence. Images of royal palaces, courtiers waistcoats, and Hampton Chimneys were just some of the designs that adorned these heritage prints.

Zimmer + Rohde

Moving on, our next port of call was Zimmer + Rhode. Here we viewed an extraordinary range of contemporary fabrics and wallpapers; deconstructed florals, raffia weaves, and fifty-seven different coloured silks.

From here we were lead, crocodile style, to Poliform to view their chic, modern, Italian designed Mondrian furniture. The expansive modular sofa sat in perfect harmony with the dark wood and marble Cosmos tables. The whole set was lit by stunning sculptural ceiling pendants.

Larsons at Colefax and Fowler

At Colefax and Fowler we were given a curated tour of their two new collections; Larsons and Manuel Canovas. The first, a collection of cool colours inspired by nature contrasted sharply to the second, which was a riot of exotic colour combinations inspired by countries linked by the Silk Road.

Manuel Canovas at Colefax and Fowler

Front was our next on the trail where we viewed their latest range of flooring which was a collection of rugs with patterns based on those of men’s suits; imagine large scale herringbones and tweeds in soft muted colours.

Soho Home at Turnell & Gigon

To round off the Discovery Trail we made our way to Turnell & Gigon where we were immersed by the eclectic British style synonymous with Soho House. Soho Home is a range of fabric, furniture, and accessories, based on the Soho House brand.

Soho Home tie-backs

Blush pink, greys, and teals, dominated this range of luxurious soft furnishings. Tie-backs, trimmings, and fabric wall-coverings were especially striking.

Soho Home fabrics

Laden with gift bags from each of our stops, and dizzy from champagne, I reluctantly said my goodbyes and thankyous and awaited my lift home.

Postscript: Soho Home has opened its first retail space at Liberty London.

London Design Week 2017

The Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour threw open its doors yesterday to this  year’s London Design Week. With a packed programme of industry leaders taking the stage in the Design Club on the third floor of the South Dome, there is ample opportunity to glean first-hand knowledge of the world of interiors.


The Trade Preview runs until March 14 after which the show will be open to the general public from March 15-17. It is open daily between 10am and 6pm and there is no charge for entry.

Easily accessible by road or rail Chelsea Harbour is a great venue as there is plenty of on-site parking and regular trains running between Clapham Junction and Imperial Wharf.

Window shopping

Spending a day wandering the boutique showrooms and attending one or more of the talks or workshops is made even more pleasant by whiling away time in one of the pop-up bars or cafés. It’s a great place to meet with clients or friends.

Tatler pop-up restaurant

My favourite event on this year’s LDW programme is the Discovery Trail taking place on Friday 17 with Ben Spriggs, deputy editor, of Elle Decoration. The tour will take in some of the biggest names in the industry with an opportunity to review their key pieces.

For more information on visiting LDW and for a list of events visit


Top Drawer

It’s often difficult to take time out of the office but this week I had the perfect excuse as I had been invited to attend the Top Drawer exhibition at Olympia. With a strap-line claiming “Adventures in Design for Creative Retailers” I found this too good an opportunity to miss.

This is an exhibition for trend spotters as it gives a keen insight as to what will be coming to the High Street and on-line stores in the coming months. Divided into four distinct areas for Home, Gift, Fashion, and Craft, it was an extremely busy show with exhibitors filling the ground floor and overflowing onto the mezzanine above.

One of the most imposing stands was manned by Nick Ronald of Grand Illusions. I have fond memories of attending one of his furniture painting courses at the shop in St. Margarets and still have the aged wooden coat pegs to prove it. Having recently published a book entitled Paint Vintage the stand was a chic piece of architecture housing a range of painted furniture brought to life with sophisticated accessories, and of course, the Grand Illusions range of Vintage Paint.

Another of my favourite on-line stores was present, Nkuku. Specialising in Fair Trade Homeware and gifts, this was another imposing stand, mainly featuring tableware, lanterns, and soft furnishings.

On a more frivolous and colourful note the Tintin stand, and Lake District based Herdy products stand, both caught my eye. 

Gifts, homeware, and accessories, designed to raise a smile, were originally based on the lovable Hardwick sheep. The Herdy Fund helps support local sustainable rural community and upland fell farming projects.

Realising that time was moving on, and that there was still work to be done back in the office, I grabbed my coat from the cloakroom and headed back to the train station.Only as the train pulled in did I realise that the Newgate clocks all differed in time and that perhaps I could have stayed a minute or two longer.

Furniture For The Future

img_8177Attending a champagne reception hosted by bespoke furniture maker Silverlining at The National Portrait Gallery in London was an honour. As guest of my business partner you could say it was all in a day’s work but this was a very special occasion. Celebrating 30 years of excellence the event attracted guests from all over the world. img_8174

Based in Wrexham Silverlining have built up an extensive client base. Their passion, commitment, and craftsmanship, ensures each and every piece of furniture they produce is of the highest quality and original design. Their name is derived from the metal cores that are used to prevent woods from distorting and from the use of silver hallmarks to date furniture and to identify its maker.img_8180A cast-iron sculpture by Antony Gormley viewed the proceedings from a void above whilst 4K images of Silverlining’s intricate patterns were projected onto the walls and ceilings.img_8191Guests at this invitation only event had private access to the Picasso Portraits exhibition which runs until February 2017. Over eighty works focus on the artist’s portrayal of family, friends and lovers. These portraits cover all periods of Picasso’s career from his boyhood to his latter years. Some of the works on display are being shown in the UK for the first time.

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